Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "The catechism explained : an exhaustive exposition of the Christian religion, with special reference to the present state of society and the spirit of the age"

See other formats



The  Best  Work  for  Catechists  and  Teachers. 


A  Manual  for  Priests,  Teachers,  and  Parents.  Edited  by  the  Right  Rev. 
S.  G.  Messmer,  D.D.,  D.C.L.,  Bishop  of  Green  Bay.  i2tno,  cloth, 
584  pages net,  $i .  50 

This  work  gives  the  gist  of  all  the  laws  relating  to  this  subject 
made  by  the  Councils  of  English-speaking  countries,  points  out  the 
manner  of  teaching  Christian  Doctrine,  the  educational  tools  that 
should  be  made  use  of,  etc.  The  learned  Bishop  of  Green  Bay  has 
added  much  new  matter  to  the  book,  making  it  of  greater  utility  for 
English  speaking  countries. 

No  work  ever  published  in  English  offers  such  help  to  Catechists  as 
this  one. 












Professor  of  Theology. 





Printers  to  the  Holy  Apostolic  See, 

6  Preface. 

Spirit  the  understanding  is  enlightened  and  the  will  strengthened. 
Thus  a  close  connection  exists  between  the  different  parts  of  this 
Catechism.  Each  part  is  subdivided  and  arranged  to  form  a 
whole,  so  that  the  connection  between  and  the  coherence  of  all 
the  truths  of  religion  are  plainly  apparent.  This  is  a  very  impor 
tant  point.  For  the  more  clearly  we  perceive  the  manner  in  which 
the  truths  of  religion  are  linked  together,  the  easier  will  it  be  for 
us  to  apprehend  each  one  singly.  The  Catechism  is  a  marvellously 
connected  system  of  revealed  truth.  If  Catholics  were  thoroughly 
acquainted  in  their  childhood  with  the  fundamental  truths  o£y 
religion  ;  if  they  were  taught  to  see  how  all  the  different  parts  of 
this  divine  edifice  combine  to  form  one  beauteous  structure,  the 
darts  of  hell  would  have  no  power  to  injure  them. 

2.  The  large  print  in  this  Catechism  is  the  scaffolding,  or  skel 
eton  ;  it  contains  all  the  essential  truths  of  religion.     The  small 
print  might,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  be  omitted;  but  in  that  case  there 
would  be  nothing  calculated  to  touch  the  heart  and  kindle  the 
flame  of  charity  towards  God  and  one's  neighbor,  and  is  not  this 
the  effect  which  every  good  hand-book  of  religion,  every  good  ser 
mon,  every  good  catechetical  instruction  ought  to  produce  ?     We 
already  possess  in  abundance  catechisms  and  religious  manuals 
which  appeal  only  to  the  intellect ;  books  which  do  not  aim  at  the 
warmth  of  expression  and  the  fervent,  persuasive  eloquence  which 
appeal  to  the  heart,  the  force  and  vivifying  power  which  affect  the 
will  through  the  influence  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 

3.  This  Catechism  aims  at  cultivating,  to  an  equal  extent,  all 
the  three  powers  of  the  soul  :  the  understanding,  the  affections, 
and  the  will.    It  does  not  therefore  content  itself  with  mere  defini 
tions.    The  principal  object  proposed  in  it  is  not  to  teach  men  to 
philosophize  about  religion,  but  to  make  them  good  Christians 
who    will    delight    in    their    faith.      Consequently    questions    of 
scholastic  theology,  doctrines  debated  among  divines,  are  either 
omitted  altogether  or  merely  receive   a  passing  mention.     The 
author  has  endeavored  to  divest  religious  teaching  of  the  appear 
ance  of  learning,  and  to  present  it  in  a  popular  and  simple  form. 
Technical  terms,  in  which  almost  all  religious  manuals  abound, 
even  those  intended  for  children,  are  carefully  eliminated  from  his 
pages  since,  while  useful  and  necessary  for  seminarians  and  theo 
logians,  they  are  out  of  place  in  a  book  intended  for  the  laity. 
Popular  manuals  of  religion  on<rht   to  be  couched  in  plain  and 

Preface.  7 

simple  language,  like  that  used  by  Our  Lord  and  the  apostles,  easy 
of  comprehension  ;  for  what  we  need  is  something  that  will  touch 
the  heart  and  influence  the  will,  not  cram  the  mind  with  knowl 
edge  unattractive  to  the  reader.  The  present  book  is,  moreover, 
not  an  adaptation  of  catechisms  already  in  use,  but  an  original 
work,  intended  for  practical  purposes.  Attention  may  also  be 
called  to  the  fact  that  the  teaching  of  the  Church  is  not  presented 
in  a  dry,  abstract  form,  but  is  rendered  attractive  and  interesting 
by  illustrations,  comparisons,  and  quotations  from  well-known 
writers.  Thus  there  is  no  danger  that  it  will  be  thrown  aside  as 
unreadable.  The  extracts  from  the  writings  of  the  Fathers  are 
not  always  given  verbatim,  the  idea  alone  being  in  many  cases  bor 
rowed,  as  a  literal  rendering  of  the  language  employed,  beautiful 
and  forcible  as  it  is,  might  prove  rather  misleading  than  edifying  to 
the  young  and  unlearned.  The  same  may  be  said  of  some  passages 
taken  from  Holy  Scripture.  What  is  of  paramount  importance  in 
a  book  of  this  nature  is  to  make  use  of  expressions  that  are  clear 
and  intelligible.  The  writings  of  the  Fathers  are  quoted  mainly 
to  elucidate  and  illustrate,  not  to  prove  the  truths  that  are  enun 

4.  In  preparing  this  Catechism  for  publication,  the  author  has 
kept  in  view  his  purpose  of  assisting  the  teacher.  To  this  end  he 
has  made  it  his  endeavor  to  arrange  his  matter  according  to  a  clear 
and  methodical  system  ;  to  place  his  ideas  in  logical  sequence,  and 
to  clothe  them  in  simple  language  composed  of  short  sentences. 
All  the  several  branches  of  religious  teaching — the  Catechism, 
Bible  history,  the  liturgy,  controversy,  ecclesiastical  history — have 
been  comprehended  in  one  course  of  instruction,  which  has  un 
questionably  the  effect  of  enhancing  the  interest  and  appealing  to 
the  understanding  as  well  as  to  the  heart  and  the  will.  The  old- 
fashioned  form  of  embodying  the  instruction  to  be  given  in  ques 
tion  and  answer  has  not  been  followed.  That  form  is  not  sufficient, 
and  needs  further  elaboration.  Faith  comes  by  hearing,  not  by 
questioning  only.  A  knowledge  of  all  the  truths  of  our  holy 
religion  is  not  so  universal  that  they  can  be  thoroughly 
learned  by  question  and  answer  :  they  must  be  regularly  taught 
by  oral  instruction.  This  form  of  teaching  calls  for  the  exer 
cise  of  more  thought  ;  question  and  answer,  moreover,  do  noth 
ing  towards  simplifying  the  truths  to  be  imparted,  or  rendering 
them  more  intelligible  to  the  learner. 

8  Preface. 

5.  The  state  of  society  and  the  spirit  of  the  age  have  alsr*  been, 
taken  into  consideration  in  the  preparation  of  this  book.     The 
writer  has  endeavored  in  the  first  place  to  combat  the  self-seeking, 
pleasure-loving  materialism  of  the  day.    This  appears  in  the  open 
ing  part  and  also  in  the  fact  that  the  moral  law  is  enlarged  upon  at 
great  length.     It  was  not  deemed  sufficient  merely  to  enumerate 
the  several  virtues  and  vices — virtue  is  depicted  in  all  its  beauty 
and  excellence,  vice  in  all  its  hideousness  and  malice — at  the  same 
time  the  remedies  for  the  different  vices  are  added.    Furthermore, 
precepts  of  great  importance,  suited  to  the  exigencies  of  the  time, 
far  from  being  passed  over,  are  elaborately  explained.    Under  the 
heading  of  the  Third  Commandment  the  obligation  of  work  and 
the  Christian  view  of  labor  are  treated,  in  accordance  with  the 
directions  of  the  Council  of  Trent.    Under  the  Fourth  Command 
ment  our  duty  towards  the  Pope  and  the  ruler  of  our  country,  the 
duty  of  Catholics  in  regard  to  elections  is  expounded.     Under  the 
Fifth  Commandment  the  nature  of  human  life  and  the  sinfulness 
of  injuring  one's  health  for  the  sake  of  vanity  or  pleasure   are 
shown.     Under  the  Tenth  Commandment,  a  plain  statement  is 
made  of  Socialistic  and  democratic  principles  ;   and  after  this,  the 
proper  use  to  be  made  of  money  and  the  duty  of  almsgiving  are 
set  forth.    Prominence  is  given  to  the  works  of  mercy,  which  Our 
Lord  declares  to  be  essential  to  salvation,  and  which  are  an  ampli 
fication  of  the  Decalogue;  while  under  the  occasions  of  sin,  the  evils 
of  the  day,  the  exaggerated  craving  for  excitement  and  pleasure, 
love  of  dress,  the  desire  to  be  fashionable,  besides  society  papers, 
objectionable  plays,  etc.,  are  duly  censured.  Charity  to  God  and 
one's  neighbor,  a  virtue  too  rare  in  the  present  day,  is  treated  at 
some  length,  and  a  considerable  space  is  also  devoted  to  the  consid 
eration  of  the  Christian's  attitude  in  regard  to  affliction  and  pov 
erty,  the  duty  of  gratitude,  the  deceitful  nature  of  earthly  posses 
sions  and  earthly  enjoyments,  and  the  necessity  of  self-conquest. 
Also  in  matters  such  as  civil  marriage,  cremation,  Catholic  con 
gresses,  Passion  plays,  etc.,  it  cannot  be  alleged  that  this  Catechism 
is  not  fully  up  to  date. 

6.  In  its  present  form  this  Catechism  is  intended  primarily  for 
the  use  of  Priests  and  Catechists  ;  it  will  save  them  much  time  in 
preparing  their  instructions,  as  they  will  find  examples,  compari 
sons,  and  explanations  ready  to  hand.     By. abridging  the  small 
print  it  will  also  serve  as  a  school-catechism.     When  instructing 

Preface.  9 

beginners  the  Catechist  must  confine  himself  to  the  large  print ; 
it  will  be  sufficient  for  children  of  moderate  abilities  to  know  and 
understand  that  thoroughly.  It  is,  and  ever  will  be,  the  basis  upon 
which  the  whole  structure  of  religious  knowledge,  raised  by  oral 
instruction,  will  rest.  In  after  years  what  is  wanted  will  not  be 
so  much  an  increase  of  theological  knowledge,  as  a  lucid  explana 
tion  of  the  truths  already  learned,  and  further  proofs  are  added  for 
the  sake  of  deepening  religious  conviction. 

The  small  print  may  be  considerably  abridged  for  use  in  schools, 
but  it  must  not  be  left  out  altogether,  as  it  will  serve  to  recall  to  the 
minds  of  the  children  the  truths  they  have  been  taught.  It  con 
tains  also  many  useful  suggestions  for  the  Catechist  on  subjects  of 
importance  which  must  hold  a  place  in  his  instructions.  Moreover, 
parents  who  go  through  the  Catechism  with  their  children  at  home 
will  be  compelled  to  read  the  small  print,  and  thus,  with  no  effort 
on  their  part,  tihey  will  obtain  a  more  intimate  knowledge  of 
Christian  doctrine. 

It  is  most  important  in  these  days  of  unbelief  that  the  school 
should  be  the  means  of  reviving  a  Christian  spirit  in  the  family. 
Hence  it  is  advisable  that  the  Catechist  should  take  the  chief 
points  and  the  plan  of  his  instruction  from  a  book,  and  it  should 
not  be  left  to  each  individual  to  propound  what  truths  he  pleases. 
Besides,  it  is  desirable  that  the  catechumens  themselves  should  have 
the  essential  part  of  the  instruction  placed  before  them  in  black 
and  white  ;  for  it  is  a  known  fact  that  what  ,is  not  seen  by  the  eye 
is  not  long  retained  by  the  memory.  If  the  impression  received, 
the  feelings  excited,  the  resolutions  called  forth  are  to  be  perma 
nent,  they  must  be  re-awakened  by  reading  the  Catechism.  Thus  the 
Catechism  becomes  not  merely  a  class-book,  but  a  book  of  spiritual 
reading,  to  be  taken  up  again  and  re-read  in  after  years.  Hence 
we  see  what  a  wide  sphere  of  usefulness  the  books  used  in  our 
schools  may  have.  Ought  a  book  whose  influence  is  so  extensive, 
which  contains  the  most  important  of  all  teaching,  present  that 
teaching  in  a  dry,  uninteresting  form,  or  give  a  scanty  outline, 
the  mere  framework  of  the  truths  of  religion  ? 

In  publishing  an  English  translation  of  this  manual  of  Chris 
tian  truth,  it  is  hoped  that  it  may  find  as  hearty  a  welcome  among 
English-speaking  nations  as  the  original  did  in  the  author's  own 
country.  He  ventures  to  hope  that  it  may  greatly  promote  the 
glory  of  God  and  the  salvation  of  souls.  In  order  to  secure  the 

10  Preface. 

blessing  of  God  upon  his  labors,  he  dedicated  the  work  to  the 
Immaculate  Mother  of  God ;  and  it  cannot  be  doubted  that  the 
blessings  of  the  Most  High  rests  upon  it,  for  although  at  the  out 
set  it  encountered  formidable  obstacles,  it  has  since  had  an  unex 
pectedly  widespread  and  rapid  circulation. 





I.  Prayers  and  Precepts  of  the  Church 59 

1.  The  Sign  of  the  Cross 59 

2.  The  Lord's  Prayer 59 

3.  The  Angelical  Salutation 59 

4.  The    Apostles'    Creed 59 

5.  The  Two  Precepts  of  Charity 60 

6.  The  Ten  Commandments  of  God 60 

7.  The  Six  Precepts  of  the  Church 60 

II.  Prayers  which  may  be  used  Daily  at  Different  Times 61 

1.  A  Morning  Prayer 61 

2.  A  Night  Prayer 61 

3.  An  Act  of  Good  Intention 61 

4.  Grace  before  Meals 61 

5.  Grace  after  Meals 61 

6.  Prayer  for  One's  Parents 62 

III.  Prayers  to  be  said  at  Different  Times  when  the  Church  Bell 

is  Heard   62 

1.  The  Angelus 62 

2.  Prayer  in  Commemoration  of  Our  Lord's  Passion,  to  be  said 

at  Three  O'clock  on  Fridays 62 

3.  Prayer   for   the   Souls  in   Purgatory,   to   be   said   when   the 

Church  Bell   is  Tolled .' 63 

4.  Prayers  to  be  said  when  the  Bell  is  rung  at  Mass 63 

5.  Prayer  at  the  Offertory 63 

6.  At  the  Consecration 63 

7.  At  the  Communion 64 

IV.  Devotions  for  Confession  and  Communion 64 

1.  The  Form  for  Confession 64 

2.  Acts  of  the  Three  Theological  Virtues 64 

3.  An  Act  of  Contrition 65 

4.  Renewal  of  Baptismal  Vows 65 

V.  Devotions  to  the  Holy  Ghost 66 

1.  Prayer  to  the  Holy  Ghost 66 

2.  Hymn  to  the  Holy  Ghost 66 


12  Contents. 

VI.  Special  Prayers 67 

1.  The  Salve  Regina 67 

2.  The  Memorare 67 

3.  The  Holy  Rosary 67 

4.  Prayer  to  St.  Joseph 68 

5.  Prayer  to  Our  Guardian  Angel 68 




We  are  upon  this  earth  in  order  that  we  may  glorify  God,  and  so 
win  for  ourselves  eternal  happiness 73 


We  shall  attain  to  eternal  happiness  by  the  following  means: 

1.  We  must  strive  to  know  God  by  means  of  faith  in  the  truths  He 

has  revealed  to  us 74 

2.  We  must  fulfil  the  will  of  God  by  keeping  His  commandments 74 

3.  We  must,   therefore,    avail   ourselves   of   the  means   of   grace;     of 

which  the  chief  are  holy  Mass,  the  sacraments  and  prayers 75 


1.  Earthly  goods,  such  as  riches,   honor,  pleasure,  cannot  by   them 

selves  make  us  happy;    for  they  cannot  satisfy  our  soul;    they 
often  only  make  life  bitter,  and  invariably  forsake  us  in  death.  .         75 

2.  Only  the  Gospel  of  Christ  is  capable  of  giving  us  a  partial  happi 

ness  on  earth,  for  he  who  follows  the  teaching  of  Christ  is  certain 

to  have  peace  in  his  soul 76 

3.  He  who  follows  Christ  will  have  to  endure  persecution;    but  these 

persecutions  can  do  him  no  harm 76 

4.  Hence  perfect  happiness  is  impossible  on  earth;    for  no  man  can 

entirely  avoid  suffering 77 




1.  The  happiness  of  the  angels  and  saints  consists  in  the  knowledge 

of  God...  79 

Contents.  13 


2.  The  knowledge  of  God  is  all  important,  for  without  it  there  cannot 

be  any  happiness  on  earth,  or  a  well-ordered  life 79 

3.  We  arrive  at  a  right  knowledge  of  God  through  faith  in  the  truths 

which  God  has  revealed g0 


God  has  in  His  mercy  in  the  course  of  ages  often  revealed  Himself  to 

men  (Heb.  i.  1,  2) 80 


1.  The  truths  revealed  by  God  to  men  were  by  God's  command  pro 

claimed  to  all  nations  of  the  earth  by  the  Catholic  Church,  and 
especially  by  means  of  the  living  word — that  is,  by  preaching 83 

2.  The  Catholic  Church  derives  from  Holy  Scripture  and  from  Tra 

dition  the  truths  that  God  has  revealed 84 


1.  Holy  Scripture  or  the  Bible  consists  of  seventy-two  books,  which 

were  written  by  men  inspired  by  God,  and  under  the  guidance 
and  influence  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  These  seventy-two  books  are 
recognized  by  the  Church  as  "  The  Word  of  God." 84 

2.  The  truths  of  divine  revelation,  which  Ijave  not  been  written  down 

in  the  pages  of  Holy  Scripture,  but  have  been  transmitted  by 
word  of  mouth,  are  called  Tradition 88 


1.  Christian  faith  is  the  firm  conviction  arrived  at  with  the  grace  of 

God,  that  all  that  Jesus  Christ  taught  on  earth  is  true,  as  well 
as  all  that  the  Catholic  Church  teaches  by  the  commission  she  has 
received  from  Him 89 

2.  Faith   is  concerned  with  many  things  which  we  cannot  perceive 

with  our  senses  and  cannot  grasp  with  our  understanding 89 

3.  We  act  quite  in  accordance  with  reason  when  we  believe,  because 

we  trust  ourselves  to  God's  truthfulness,  and  because  we  know 

for  certain  that  the  truths  of  faith  are  revealed  to  us  by  God 90 

4.  The    Christian   faith   comprises   all    the   doctrines   of   the   Catholic 

faith    91 

5.  Faith  is  a  gift  of  God,  since  the  power  to  believe  can  only  be  at 

tained  through  the  grace  of  God 92 

6.  Faith  is  necessary  to  eternal  salvation 93 

7.  Faith  alone  is  not  sufficient  for  salvation 94 


1.  The  external  motives  which  move  us  to  believe  are  chiefly  miracles 

and  prophecy 95 

14  Contents. 

2.  Miracles  are  such  extraordinary  works  as   cannot  be  performed 

by  the  mere  powers  of  nature,  but  are  brought  about  by  the  in 
tervention  of  a  higher  power 95 

3.  Miracles  are  wrought  by  almighty  God  only  for  His  own  glory, 

and  especially  for  the  confirmation  of  true  doctrine 96 

4.  In  working  miracles  God  usually  makes  use  of  the  intervention 

of  man,  sometimes  even  of  wicked  men 96 

5.  Prophecies  are  clear  and  definite  predictions  of  future  events  that 

can  be  known  to  God  alone 97 

6.  God  for  the  most  part  entrusts  the  prophesying  of  future  events  to 

His  messengers,  for  the  confirmation  of  the  true  faith  or  for  the 
benefit  of  men 97 


1.  Those  who  do  not  possess  Christian  faith  are  either:    (1),  Heretics, 

or    (2) ,    Infidels 98 

2.  Faith  is  for  the  most  part  lost  either:     (1),  by  indifference  to  the 

doctrines  of  faith;  (2),  by  wilful  doubt  respecting  the  truths  of 
faith;  (3),  by  reading  books  or  other  literature  that  is  hostile  to 
the  faith;  (4),  by  frequenting  the  assemblies  of  those  who  are 
hostile  to  the  faith;  (5),  by  neglecting  the  practice  of  one's  re 
ligion 100 

3.  All  men  who   through    their    own    fault    die    without   Christian 

faith  are  by  the  just  judgment  of  God  sentenced  to  eternal  per 
dition 101 


1.  God  requires  of  us  that  we  should  make  outward  profession  of  our 

faith   102 

2.  Our  Lord  has  promised  eternal  life  to  him  who  fearlessly  makes 

profession  of  his  faith 103 


1.  In  making  the  sign  of  the  cross  we  make  profession  of  the  most 

important  of  all  the  mysteries  of  our  holy  religion  ;  viz.,  the  doc 
trine  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  and  of  the  incarnation  of  Our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ 105 

2.  By  means  of  the  sign  of  the  cross  we  obtain  a  blessing  from  God; 

and  especially  by  it  are  we  protected  from  the  assaults  of  the 
devil  and  from  all  dangers  both  to  body  and  to  soul 106 


1.  The  Apostles'  Creed  contains  in  brief  all  that  a  Catholic  must  know 

and  believe 108 

2.  The  Apostles'  Creed  may  be  divided  into  three  several  parts 108 

3.  The  Apostles'  Creed  may  also  be  divided  into  twelve  articles 109. 

Contents.  15 




1.  We  can  infer  from  the  created  world  around  us  that  there  exists 

a  supreme   Being 109 

2.  The  existence  of  God  is  also  proved  from  revelation Ill 


1.  God  is  a  self -existent  Being,  infinite  in  His  perfections,  glory,  and 

beatitude,  the  Creator  and  Ruler  of  the  whole  world 112 

2.  We  cannot  see  God3  because  He  is  a  spirit,  i.e.,  a  being  without 

body,  immortal,  possessed  of  intellect  and  free  will 113 

3.  There  is  one  God,  and  one  only 114 


1.  God  is  eternal,  i.e.,  always  was,  is,  and  ever  will  be 114 

2.  God  is  omnipresent,  i.e.,  He  is  in  every  place 115 

3.  God  is  immutable,  i.e.,  He  ever  remains  the  same 117 

4.  God  ih  omniscient,  i.e.,  He  knows  all  things,  the  past,  the  present, 

and  the  future,  and  also  our  inmost  thoughts  (Jer.  xvii.  10) ....       117 

5.  God  is  supremely  wise,  i.e.,  He  knows  how  to  direct  everything 

for  the  best,  in  order  to  carry  out  His  designs 119 

6.  God  is  almighty,  i.e.,  God  can  do  all  that  He  wills,  and  that  by  a 
mere  act  of  His  will 120 

7.  God  is  supremely  good,  i.e.,  He  loves  His  creatures  far  more  than 

a  father  loves  his  children 121 

8.  God  is  very  patient,  i.e.,  He  leaves  the  sinner  time  for  repent 
ance  and  a  change  of  life 123 

9.  God  is  full  of  mercy  and  compassion,  i.e.,  He  very  readily  forgives 

our  sins  when  we  are  sincerely  sorry  for  them 124 

10.  God  is  infinitely  holy,  i.e.,  He  loves  good  and  hates  all  evil 125 

11.  God  is  infinitely  just,  i.e.,  He  rewards  all  good  and  punishes  all 

evil  deeds 125 

12.  God  is  a  God  of  perfect  truth,  i.e.,  all  that  He  reveals  to  man  is 

true 127 

13.  God  is  faithful,  i.e.,  He  keeps  His  promises  and  carries  out  His 
threats 127 


1.  The  Blessed  Trinity  is  one  God  in  three  persons 128 

2.  We  cannot  with   our  feeble  understanding  grasp  the  doctrine   of 

the  Blessed  Trinity,  and  it  is  therefore  called  a  mystery 128 

3.  The  nature,  the  attributes,  and  the  works  of  the  three  persons  of 

the  Blessed  Trinity  are  common  to  all  of  them 129 

4.  The  three  divine  persons  are  divided  only  in  their  origin 180 

16  Contents. 

5.  We  are  taught  the  mystery  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  by  Christ  Him 

self,  but  it  was  partly  known  in  the  time  of  the  Old  Testament. .       181 

6.  The  belief  in  the  Blessed  Trinity  is  expressed  in  the  Apostles'  Creed, 

in  Baptism,  and  in  the  other  sacraments,  in  all  consecrations  and 
blessings,  and  in  the  feast  of  the  Most  Holy  Trinity 131 


1.  In  the  beginning  God  created  the  spiritual  and  material  universe. .       132 

2.  The  material  world  was  at  the  first  without  form,  without  inhab 

itants,  and  without  light 132 

3.  God  gave  to  the  material  universe  its  present  form  in  the  course 

of  six  days 133 

4.  On  the  seventh  day  God  rested  from  all  His  work  that  He  had 

done 134 


1.  God  made  the  world  out  of  nothing,  simply  because  it  pleased  Him 

to  make  it 135 

2.  God  was  moved  to  make  the  world  by  His  great  goodness 136 

3.  The  end  of  creation  is  necessarily  to  proclaim  to  men  the  glory  o 

God 136 


We  call  by  the  name  of  divine  providence,  God's  preservation  and 
government  of  the  world 137 

1.  God  maintains  the  world,  i.e.,  He  preserves  all  creatures  in  exist 

ence  as  long  as  He  wills 137 

2.  God  governs  the  world,  i.e.,  He  conducts  all  things  in  the  world, 

so  that  they  contribute  to  His  glory  and  to  our  advantage 137 

3.  For  this  reason  a  pious  Christian  should  resign  himself  entirely 

to  the  will  of  God 138 


No  sinner  has  true  happiness,  and  his  good  fortune  is  only  transitory.  .       139 


God  is  not  responsible  for  sin 140 


1.  No  one  can  attain  to  eternal  salvation  without  suffering 141 

2.  All  suffering  comes  from  God,  and  is  a  sign  of  His  love  and  favor. .       141 

3.  God  sends  suffering  to   the    sinner    to  bring  him   back   into  the 

right  way,  and  to  save  him  from  eternal  death 142 

4.  God  sends  suffering  to  the  just  man  to  try  him,  whether  he  loves 

God  most  or  creatures 143 

5.  Sufferings  then  are  no  real  evil,  but  are  benefits  from  the  hand  of 

God 144 

6.  For  this  reason  we  should  be  patient  under  suffering,  and  should 

resign  ourselves  to  the  will  of  God 144 




1.  The  angeis  are  pure  spirits 146 

2.  All  the  angels  whom  God  created  were  at  the  beginning  in  the 

grace  of  God  and  well  pleasing  to  Him.  But  many  of  the  angels 
sinned  through  pride,  and  were  cast  down  by  God  into  hell  for 
ever  (2  Pet.  ii.  4) 147 

3.  The  evil  angels  are  our  enemies;    they  envy  us,  seek  to  lead  us  to 

sin,  and  can,  with  God's  permission,  injure  us  in  our  bodies  or  in 

our  worldly  goods 147 

4.  The  angels  who  remained  faithful  to  God  behold  the  face  of  God 

continually  and  sing  His  praises 150 

5.  The  holy  angels  are  also  called  guardian  angels,  because  they  watch 

over  us  (Heb.  i.  14) 150 

9.  MAN. 
The  Creation  of  Man. 

1.  God  made    the  body  of  man    out  of    the  dust  of    the  earth,  and 

breathed  into  him  a  living  soul 152 

2.  The  first  human  beings  that  God  created  were  Adam  and  Eve 153 

10.  THE  SOUL  OF  MAN. 

1.  The  soul  of  man  is  made  in  the  image  of  God,  since  it  is  a  spirit 

like  to  God 154 

2.  The  soul  of  man  is  immortal,  i.e.,  it  can  never  cease  to  exist 154 


1.  Our  first  parents  were  created  in  the  grace  of  God,  and  therefore 

possessed  singular  perfections  of  soul  and  body 156 

2.  These  special  perfections  of  our  first  parents  we  call  supernatural 

gifts,   because  they  are  something  altogether  beyond,  and  were 
added,  to  human  nature 157 


1.  God  imposed  on  man  in  paradise  a  precept;  He  forbade  him  to  eat 

the  fruit  of  one  of  the  trees,  \vhich  stood  in  the  midst  of  the 
Garden  of  Eden 158 

2.  Man  allowed  himself  to  be  led    astray  by  the    devil,  and  trans 

gressed  the  precept  of  his  Creator 158 

3.  The   transgression  of  the   precept    of  God   had    disastrous   conse 

quences;    man   lost   sanctifying   grace   and   all   his   supernatural 
gifts,  and  also  suffered  injuries  both  in  soul  and  body 159 

4.  The  sin  of  our  first  parents  with  all  its  evil    consequences    has 

passed  on  to  their  descendants 161 

18  Contents. 




Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  Our  Redeemer,  has  freed  us  from  the  evil  con 
sequences  of  sin 162 


1.  Immediately  after  the  Fall  God  promised  man  a  Redeemer 163 

2.  Two   thousand   years   later   God   promised   to   Abraham    that   the 

Redeemer  should  be  one  of  his  descendants 164 

3.  At  a  later  time  God  sent  the  prophets,  and  through  their  mouth 

foretold  many  things  about  the  coming,  the  birth,  the  person, 
the  sufferings,  the  death,  and  the  final  triumph  and  glory  of  the 

Redeemer 164 

4.  Of  the  advent  of  the  Messias 165 

5.  Of  the  person  of   the   Messias 167 

6.  Of  the  sufferings  of  the  Messias 168 

7.  Of  the  glory  of  the  Messias 169 

8.  The  Messias  was  announced  through  many  types 169 


1.  God  chose  for  Himself  a  special  nation  and   prepared  it  for  the 

coming  of  a  Redeemer;  this  chosen  people  was  the  seed  of  Abra 
ham,  usually  called  by  the  name  of  Israelites  or  Jews 171 

2.  The  other  nations  of  the  earth  were  prepared  for  the  coming  of 

the  Redeemer  by  contact  with  the  chosen  people,  or  by  the  in 
fluence  of  exceptionally  gifted  men  or  by  other  extraordinary 
methods 174 

3.  Before  the  arrival  of  the  Redeemer  God  permitted  that  mankind 

should  experience  the  deepest  misery  in  order  to  rouse  it  to  a 
longing  for  a  Redeemer 174 


1.  The  Redeemer  lived  some  nineteen  hundred  years  ago  and  remained 

thirty-three  years  on  the  earth 175 

2.  The  work  of  the    Redeemer    was    confined  for  the  most  part  to 

Palestine  .  175 


1.  Jesus  of  Nazareth  is  the  Redeemer  because  all  the  prophecies  have 

their  fulfilment  in  Him 178 

2.  Jesus  of  Nazareth  is  the  Messias  because  the  kingdom  founded  by 

Him  on  earth  has  been  enduring 178 

Contents.  19 


3.  Jesus  Himself  claimed  the  name  of  Redeemer 178 

4.  The  angels  announced  Him  as  the  Redeemer 178 

The  Childhood  of  Christ. 

1.  Christ  was  born  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  in  a  stable  at  Beth 

lehem 179 

2.  Christ  spent  the  first  years  of  His  childhood  in  Egypt,  and  after 

that  lived  at  Nazareth  till  He  was  thirty 182 

The  Public  Life  of  Christ. 

1.  When  Christ  was  thirty  years  old,  He  was  baptized  by  John  in  the 

Jordan  (Matt.  iii.  13),  and  fasted  forty  days  in  the  desert,  where 

He  was  tempted  by   the  devil    (Matt,   iv.) 183 

2.  Christ  taught   for  about   three   and  a  half  years,  gathered   some 

seventy-two  disciples,  and  from  these  chose  twelve  apostles 183 

3.  Christ  proved  His  divine  mission  and   the  truth  of  His  doctrine 

by  many  miracles,  by  His  knowledge  of  all  things,  and  by  the 
holiness  of  His  life 185 

The  Sufferings  of  Christ. 

1.  On  the  Sunday  preceding  the  feast  of  Easter  Christ  made  a  solemn 

entry  into  Jerusalem,  and  taught  in  the  Temple  during  the  days 
following 185 

2.  On  Holy  Thursday  evening  Christ  ate  the  Pasch  with  His  disciples, 

instituted    the    Blessed    Sacrament,   and   then   went    out   to   the 
Mount  of  Olives,  where  He  suffered  His  agony  and  bloody  sweat..        185 

3.  On  Good  Friday  at  noon  Christ  was  nailed  to  the  cross,  on  the 

hill  of  Calvary,  just  outside   Jerusalem,  and  died  on  the  cross 
about  three  o'clock 187 

4.  During  Easter  Saturday,  that  is,  on  the  greatest  feast  day  of  the 

Jews,  Our  Lord  remained  in  the  sepulchre 188 

The  Exaltation  of  Christ. 

1.  Immediately   after  the   death   of  Christ   His   soul  went  down  in 

triumph  into  the  place  where  the  souls  of  those  justified  under 

the  Old  Law  were  detained 188 

2.  On  Easter  Sunday   before   sunrise   Christ  rose  glorious   from   the 

tomb  by  His  own  almighty  power 189 

3.  Forty  days  after  His  resurrection  Our  Lord  ascended  into  heaven 

from  the  Mount  of  Olives  and  now  sits  at  the  right  hand  of  God 

the  Father 191 

20  Contents. 

4.  On  the  tenth  day  after  His   ascending   into  heaven   Christ  sent 

down  the  Holy  Ghost  on  the  apostles. 192 


Jesus  Christ,  Our  Redeemer,  is  the  Son  of  God  made  man;  hence  He 

is  God  Himself 193 

The  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God. 

1.  The  second  divine  person  became  man  in  the  womb  of  the  Blessed 

Virgin  Mary  by  the  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost  at  the  moment  of 

the    Annunciation 193 

2.  The    Father  of    Jesus    is    therefore  God   the   Father   in   heaven; 

Joseph,  the  spouse  of  Mary,  is  only  the  foster-father  of  Jesus 194 

3.  The  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God  is  a  mystery  which  we  cannot 

understand,  but  only  admire  and  honor 194 

4.  The  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God  was  necessary  to  give  perfect 

satisfaction  to  the  injured  majesty  of  God 195 

5.  The  Second  Person  always  remained  God  though  He  became  man, 

and  by  the  Incarnation  He  lost  none  of  His  dignity 196 

6.  By  the    Incarnation  of   the  Son  of  God  all  the    members  of  the 

human  race  have  acquired  a  special  dignity 196 


1.  Christ  is  true  God  and  true  man;   hence  we  call  Him  the  God- 

man    197 

2.  In  Christ  there  are  two  natures,  human  and  divine,  which,  despite 

their  intimate  union,  are  quite  distinct 197 

3.  In  Christ  there  is  only  one  person,  and  that  person  is  divine 198 

Jesus  Christ  is  the  Son  of  God. 

1.  Jesus  Christ  solemnly  declared  before  the  high  priest  that  He  was 

the  Son  of  God  (Matt.  xxvi.  64) 200 

2.  God  the  Father  called  Jesus  Christ  His  Son  on  the  occasion   of 

His  baptism  in  the  Jordan  and  of  the  transfiguration  on  Mount 
Thabor  (Matt.  iii.  17;   xvii.  5) 200 

Jesus  Christ  is  God  Himself. 

1.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  learn  from  His  own  words  and  from 

those  of  His  apostles 201 

2.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God   we    conclude    from   His    miracles  and 

prophecies 201 

3.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  conclude  from  the  elevation  of  His 

teaching  and  His  character 202 

Contents.  21 


4.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  conclude  from  the  rapid  spread  of 

His  teaching 203 

Jesus  Christ  is  Our  Lord. 

We  call  Christ  "  Our  Lord "  because  He  is  our  Creator,  Redeemer, 

Lawgiver,  Teacher,  and  Judge 204 


1.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  the  Third  Person  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  and  is 

therefore  God  Himself 205 

2.  The  Holy  Ghost  dispenses  the  graces  which  Christ  merited  by  the 

sacrifice   of  the   cross 205 

3.  Hence  the  assistance  of  the  Holy   Ghost  is   absolutely   necessary 

for  salvation. .  205 

Actual  Grace. 

1.  The  Holy  Ghost  influences   our  lives    by  enlightening  the  mind 

and  strengthening  the  will.  Such  passing  influence  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  is  called  "  actual  grace  " 207 

2.  The  action  of  the  Holy  Spirit  sometimes  makes  itself  perceptible 

to   the   senses 208 

3.  The  Holy  Ghost  does  not  force  us,  but  leaves  us  in  perfect  posses 

sion  of  our  free  will 208 

4.  The  Holy  Ghost  acts  on  every  man:   on  the  sinner  as  well  as  on 

the  just  ;  and  more  on  Catholics  than  on  non-Catholics  and  un 
believers 209 

5.  Actual   graces   are  obtained   by   the   performance   of  good  _  works, 

especially  by  prayer,  fasting,  and  almsdeeds ;  and  more  especially  by 
the  use  of  the  means  of  grace  provided  by  the  Church,  by  hear 
ing  of  holy  Mass,  worthy  reception  of  the  Sacraments,  and  attend 
ance  at  sermons 210 

Sanctifying  Grace. 

1.  When  the  sinner  co-operates  with  actual  grace,  the  Holy  Ghost 
enters  his  soul,  and  confers  on  it  a  brightness  and  beauty  which 
claim  the  friendship  of  God.  This  indwelling  beauty  of  the  soul 
is  due  to  the  presence  of  the  Holy  Spirit  and  is  called  "  sanctify 
ing  grace." • VI 

22  Contents. 


2.  Usually,  however,  the  Holy  Spirit  makes  His  entry  on  the  recep 

tion  of  the  Sacraments  of  Baptism  or  Penance 212 

3.  When  the  Holy  Spirit  enters  into  us  He  brings  with  Him  a  new 

spiritual  life 212 

4.  Sanctifying  grace  is  secured  and  increased  by  doing  good  works, 

and  using  the  means  of  grace  offered  by  the  Church ;    it  is  lost  by 

a  single  mortal  sin 215 

5.  He  who  has  not  sanctifying  grace  is   spiritually   dead,   and   will 

suffer  eternal  ruin 216 

6.  No  one  knows  for  certain  whether  he  have  sanctifying  grace  or 

will  receive  it  at  the  hour  of  death 216 

The  Seven  Gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost  and  the  Extraordinary  Graces. 

1.  The  Holy  Ghost  gives  to  all  who  have  sanctifying  grace  the  seven 

gifts  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  that  is,  the  seven  virtues  of  the  soul,  by 
which  it  easily  responds  to  His  light  and  inspirations 216 

2.  The  Holy  Ghost  gives  to  many  gracea  of  a  rarer  kind,  for  instance 

the  gift  of  tongues,  of  miracles,  of  prophesy,  of  discernment  of 
spirits,  of  visions,  of  ecstasies,  etc 218 

3.  The  gifts  of  the  Holy  Spirit  were  conspicuous  in  a  special  degree 

in  Jesus  Christ,  His  holy  Mother,  the  apostles,  the  patriarchs  and 
the  prophets  of  the  Old  Law,  and  all  the  saints  of  the  Catholic 
Church 219 

The  Holy  Ghost  as  Guide  of  the  Church. 
The  Holy  Ghost  maintains  and  guides  the  Catholic  Church 219 


The  Holy  Ghost  has  appeared  under  the  form  of  a  dove,  of  fire,  and 

of  tongues,  to  signify  His  office  in  the  Church 220 



1.  The  Catholic  Church  is  a  visible  institution  founded  by  Christ,  in 

which  men  are  trained  for  heaven 221 

2.  The  Church  prepares  man  for  heaven  by  carrying  out  the  three 

fold  office  which  Christ  conferred  upon  her;    the  office  of  teacher, 

of  priest,  and  of  shepherd 222 

3.  The  Lord  and  King  of  the  Church  is  Christ 222 

4.  The  Catholic  Church  consists  of  a  teaching  and  a  hearing  body; 

to  the   former   belong  the  Pope,   bishops,   and   priests  ;     to   the 
latter  the  faithful 223 

Contents.  23 



1.  Christ  conferred  on  St.  Peter  the  primacy  over  the  apostles  and  the 

faithful 223 

2.  St.  Peter  was  Bishop  of  Rome  for  some  twenty-five  years,  and  died 

Bishop    of    Rome  ;     and    the    dignity    and    power    of    St.    Peter 
descended  to  the  succeeding  Bishops  of  Rome 224 

3.  The  Bishop  of  Rome  is  called  Pope  or  Holy  Father 224 


1.  The  bishops  are  the  successors  of  the  apostles 226 

2.  The  priests  are  the  assistants  of  the  bishops 228 

3.  A  Catholic  is  one  who  has  been  baptized  and  professes  himself  to 

be  a  member  of  the  Catholic  Church. .  228 


1.  Christ  laid  the  foundation  of  the  Church  when  in  the  course  of  His 

teaching  He  gathered  a  number  of  disciples  and  chose  twelve  of 
these  to  preside  over  the  rest  and  one  to  be  Head  of  all 230 

2.  The  Church   first  began  its  life  on  Pentecost,   when  some  three 

thousand  people  were  baptized 230 

3.  Soon  after  the  descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost  the  apostles  began  to 

preach  the  Gospel  throughout  the  world,  in  accordance  with  the 
commands  of  Christ,  and  founded  Christian  communities  in  many 
places 230 

4.  When  the  great  persecutions  broke  out  the  Church  spread  more 

rapidly  over  the  earth 231 

5.  In  the  Middle  Ages  nearly  all  the  heathen  nations  began  to  enter 

the    Church .' 233 

6.  In  later   times   many    nations   of  the   newly-discovered   countries 

were  converted 233 

7.  At  present  the  Catholic  Church  numbers  about  260,000,000  mem 

bers 234 

Indestructibility  of  the  Church. 

The  Catholic  Church  is  indestructible,  i.e.,  it  will  remain  till  the  end  of 

the  world 235 

The  Infallibility  of  the  Church. 

1.  The  Catholic  Church  is  infallible  in  her  teaching,  i.e.,  the  Holy 

Spirit  assists  the  Church  in  such  a  manner  that  she  cannot  err 

in  the  preserving  and  announcing  of  revealed  doctrine 237 

2.  The  Church  delivers  her  infallible  decisions  through  general  coun 

cils  and  through  the  Pope . . ?••.•.•        287 

24  Contents. 


3.  The  Church  pronounces  infallible  judgments  in  the  following 
cases:  on  doctrines  of  faith  and  morals,  and  their  meaning  and 
interpretation;  on  the  Holy  Scripture  and  Tradition  and  their 
interpretation 240 

6.    THE    HIERARCHY    OF    THE    CHURCH. 

1.  The  ministers  of  the  Church   fall    into    three   classes   01   distinct 

dignity  and  power,  bishops,  priests,  and  deacons 241 

2.  This  hierarchy  was  in  force  in  the  time  of  the  apostles 241 

3.  The  episcopal  and   priestly  office  was  instituted   by   Christ   Him 

self;    the  diaconate  by  the  apostles 242 

4.  Besides  these  three  classes  there  are  other  degrees  varying  in  their 

powers;    for  example,  Pope,  cardinals,  and  archbishops 242 


1.  The  true  Church  is  that  one  which  is  most  persecuted  by  the  world, 

and  which  has  received  God's  seal  in  the  form  of  miracles 242 

2.  The  true  Church  is  that  one  in  which  the  successor  of  St.  Peter  is 

to  be  found 243 

3.  The  true  Church  is  known  by  the  following  four  marks:    she  is 

One,  Holy,  Catholic,  Apostolic 243 


1.  The  Catholic  Church  alone  gives  salvation;  i.e.,  the  Catholic  Church 

alone  possesses  those  means  which  lead  to  salvation;  viz.,  the 
doctrine  of  Christ,  the  means  of  salvation  appointed  by  Christ,  and 
the  teachers  and  guides  of  the  Church  established  by  Christ 245 

2.  Hence  every  man  is  bound  to  become  a  member  of  the  Catholic 

Church 245 

3.  Whoever    through    his    own    fault    remains    outside    the    Church 

will  not  be  saved 24^ 


1.  The  Church  is,  in  its  own  department,  absolutely  independent  of 

the  State,  for  Christ  left  the  teaching  and  government  of  His 
Church  to  the  apostles  and  their  successors,  not  to  any  temporal 
sovereign 247 

2.  The  Church  is  an  essential  factor  in  promoting  the  welfare  of  the 

State,  for  she  teaches  obedience  to  authority,  prevents  many 
crimes,  incites  men  to  noble  endeavor,  and  unites  together  various 
nations 248 

3.  The  Church  was  from  the  earliest  times  the  patron  of  true  edu 

cation  and  culture ? . , 249 

Contents.  25 



1.  The  communion  of  saints  is  the  union  and  intercourse  of  Catholics 

on  earth,  of  the  souls  in  purgatory,  and  of  the  saints  in  heaven. .  .        251 

2.  Catholics    on    earth,   the  souls   in   purgatory,   and   the   blessed   in 

heaven,  are  united  with  Christ,  just  as  are  the  members  of  a  body 
with  the  head 251 

3.  All  the  members  of  the  communion  of  saints  have  a  share  in  the 

spiritual  goods  of  the  Catholic  Church,  and  can  help  one  another 
by  their  prayers  and  other  good  works.  The  saints  alone  in 
heaven  have  no  need  of  help 251 



(See  the  Chapter  on  Sin.) 



1.  At  death  the  soul  is  separated  from  the  body  and  enters  the  world 

of  spirits;  the  body  decays  and  falls  into  dust 254 

2.  All  men  must  die,  because  death   is  the  consequence  of  original 

sin 254 

3.  Death  is  terrible  only  to  the  sinner,  in  no  wise  to  the  just 255 


1.  Immediately  after  death  follows  the  particular  judgment 256 

2.  After  the  particular  judgment  the  souls  of  men  go  into  hell,  or 

heaven,  or  purgatory * 257 

3.  HEAVEN. 
Heaven  is  the  abode  of  everlasting  joy 257 

4.  HELL. 

1 .  Hell  is  the  abode  of  everlasting  torment 261 

2.  The  souls  of  those  who  die  in  mortal  sin  go  to  hell 263 




1.  Purgatory  is  a  place  where  the  souls  of  those  must  suffer  for  a  time 

who,  though  dying  without  grave  sin  on  their  souls,  have  not 

done  complete  penance  for  their  offences  against  God 204 

2.  That  there  is  a  purgatory  we  learn  from  the  teachings  of  Christ 

and  especially  from  the  practice  and  doctrine  of  the  Church 265 

3.  The  faithful  on  earth  can    help  the  holy  souls  in  purgatory   by 

good  works 266 


Christ  on  the  Last  Day  will  raise  the  bodies  of  all  men  from  the  dead 
and  unite  them  to  the  soul  forever.  . 


1.  Immediately  after  the  resurrection  the  general  judgment  will  take 

place 270 

2.  The  Day  of  Judgment  is  unknown  to  us,  though  certain  signs  have 

been  revealed  which  are  to  herald  its  approach 273 


Christian  hope  is  the  confident  expectation  of  all  those  things  which 

Christ  promised  us  with  regard  to  the  fulfilment  of  God's  will ....       274 

1.  As  the  reward  of  carrying  out  God's  will,  Christ  has  promised  us 

eternal  happiness  and  the  means  required  for  obtaining  it 274 

2.  Christian  hope  is  based  on  faith 275 

3.  He  only  who  carries  out  God's  will  can  hope  for  the  good  things 

promised  by  Christ 276 

4.  A    wholesome    fear    of   falling    into   #in    must   always    accompany 

Christian   hope 276 

5.  Christian  hope  is  necessary  for  salvation 277 

6.  Christian  hope  is  a  gift  of  God 277 


1.  He  who  hopes  in  God  enjoys  the  special  protection  of  God 377 

2.  He  who  hopes  in  God  can  obtain  everything  from  Him 278 

3.  He  who  hopes  in  God  is  strengthened  by  God 278 

4.  He  who   hopes  in  God    is    impelled    to   the  performance   of  good 

works   and   heroic   acts ,    278 

Contents.  27 



1.  The  •Christian  may  not  rely  on  his  own  powers,  on  his  fellow-men, 

nor  on  earthly  things  more  than  on  God 279 

2.  The  Christian  may  not  despair 279 

3.  The  Christian  must  never  presume  on  his  trust  in  God's  mercy 280 

4.  The  Christian  may  never  tempt  God 280 




1.  God  has  imprinted  the  natural  law  on  the  heart  of  every  man; 

this  forms  the  fundamental  rule  of  -human  actions  ..............       281 

2.  In  addition  to  this  natural  law  God  gave  to  man  solemn  precepts, 

more  especially  the  Ten  Commandments,  and   the  two  precepts 

of  charity.     These  are  known  as  the  revealed  law  ..............       282 

3.  Finally,  God  gives  us  commandments  through  His  representatives 

upon   earth,   through   the  ecclesiastical    and    secular   authorities. 
These  la\vs  are  called  ecclesiastical  and  civil  laws  ...............       282 

4.  From  the  knowledge  of  the  law  comes  conscience;    the  conscious 

ness,    that   is,    whether    an    act    is    permitted    or    prohibited    by 

the  law  ......................................................       283 

5.  God's  commandments  do  not  deprive  men  in  any  way  of  true  free 

dom  ..........................................................       284 


1.  The  most  important  commandments  are   the   two  commandments 

of  charity,  that  is  to  say,  the  love  of  God  and  the  love  of  one's 
neighbor,  for  all  the  other  commandments  are  comprised  in  them.       284 

2.  Without  the  love  of  God  and  of  our  neighbor  no  man  can  be  saved.       285 


1-  We  ought  to  love  God  (1),  because  Christ  commands  this;  (2), 
because  He  is  in  Himself  essentially  the  highest  beauty  and 
sovereign  perfection;  (3),  because  He  loves  us  and  continually 
bestows  benefits  upon  us 286 

2.  Our  love  to  God  is  chiefly  manifested  by  thinking  of  Him  con 

stantly,  by  avoiding  whatever  might  separate  us  from  Him,  by 
laboring  to  promote  His  glory,  and  willingly  accepting  all  that 
comes  from  His  hand 287 

3.  We  must  love  God  with  all  our  faculties,  and  above  all  things  else 

in  the  whole  world .  .  289 

28  Contents. 


4.  The  love  of  God  is  of  great  advantage  to  us:    through  it  we  are 

united  to  God  here  on  earth,  our  minds  are  enlightened,  our  will 
is  strengthened,  we  obtain  pardon  of  sin,  peace  of  soul,  manifold 
proofs  of  God's  favor,  and  after  death  celestial  joys 290 

5.  The  merit  of  our  good  works  and  the  degree  of  our  future  felicity 

is  in  proportion  to  the  magnitude  of  our  love  for  God 291 


1.  The  love  of  the  world  consists  in  loving  above  all,  money,  or  the 

gratification   of   one's   appetite,    or   earthly   honors,    or   anything 

else  in  the  world,  instead  of  giving  the  first  place  to  God 292 

2.  Through  love  of  the  world  we  incur  the  loss  of  sanctifying  grace, 

and  eternal  felicity 292 


1.  We  ought  to  love  our  neighbor  because  this  is  Christ's  command; 

furthermore  because  he  is  a  child  of  God,  made  after  His  image; 
and  also  because  we  are  all  descended  from  the  same  parents, 
and  we  are  all  called  to  attain  eternal  felicity 295 

2.  The  love  of  our  neighbor  shows  itself  in  desiring  the  good  of  our 

neighbor  from  our  heart;    in  abstaining  from  injuring  him,  and 

in  doing  him  good 295 

3.  We  are  commanded   to  love   our  neighbor  as   ourselves;     but  we 

are  by  no  means  obliged  to  love  him  better  than  ourselves 296 

4.  All  that  we  do  to  our  neighbor,  whether  it  be  good  or  evil,  we 

do  to  Christ  Himself,  for  He  has  said,  "  What  you  did  to  one 

of  these  My  least  brethren,  ye  did  it  to  Me  "  (Matt.  xxv.  40) 297 


1.  He  who  does  not  desire  the  good  of  his  neighbor,  but  is  envious 

of  him,  does  not  possess  the  love  of  his  neighbor 298 

2.  He  does  not  love  his  neighbor  who  injures  him,  whether  in  regard 

to  his  life,  his  innocence,  his  property,  his  honor,  or  his  household.       300 

3.  Nor  does  he  love  his  neighbor  who  performs  no  works  of  mercy. . .       300 


Those  are  our  friends  whose  principles  are  the  same,  and  whose  love 

is  mutual,  and  based  on  religion 300 


1.  We  ought  to  love  our  enemies  because  Christ  commands  it;  He 
says:  "Love  your  enemies,  do  good  to  them  that  hate  you, 
pray  for  them  that  persecute  and  calumniate  you  "  (Matt.  v.  44) . 

Contents.  29 


2.  The  love  of  our  enemy  is  shown  in  this:  that  we  do  not  revenge 
ourselves  on  him,  that  we  return  good  for  evil,  that  we  pray  for 
him,  and  forgive  him  willingly 304 


The  true  love  of  one's  self  shows  itself  herein,  that  we  strive  to 
attain  that  which  will  procure  our  real  happiness  ;  first  and 
foremost  our  eternal  felicity,  and  then  such  earthly  things  as 
are  conducive  to  the  attainment  of  eternal  felicity 306 


1.  The  Ten  Commandments  were  given  by  God  to  the  Jews  on  Mount 

Sinai 306 

2.  We  Christians  are  bound  to  observe  the  Ten  Commandments  of  God, 

both  because  God  has  imprinted  them  upon  the  human  heart,  and 
because  Christ  laid  them  upon  us  anew  in  a  more  full  and  per 
fect  form 307 

3.  The  Ten  Commandments  of  God  are  arranged  in  order 307 

4.  He  who   keeps   all  these   commandments   receives   a  great  reward 

from  God  on  earth,  and  after  death  he  may  look  forward  to 
eternal  felicity  as  his  portion 308 

5.  Temporal  and  eternal  chastisements  await  the  man  who  grievously 

violates  a  single  one  of  these  commandments % 308 


In  the  First  Commandment  God  enjoins  upon  us  to  worship  Him, 

and  forbids  idolatry  and  every  false  form  of  worship 309 


1.  The  adoration  we  pay  to  God  consists  in  this:    That  we  acknowl 

edge  both  in  our  hearts  and  by  our  actions  that  'He  is  Our  Lord, 

and  we  are  His  creatures  and  His  servants 310 

2.  We  worship  God  interiorly  by  acts  of  faith,  hope,  and  charity 310 

3.  We  adore  God  exteriorly  by  vocal  prayer,  sacrifice,  genuflections, 

prostrations,  folding  of  hands,  striking  the  breast,  etc 311 

4.  We  must  pay  supreme  worship  to  God  only,  for  He  alone  is  the 

sovereign  Lord  of  heaven  and  of  earth 312 


1.  Idolatry  is  the  worship  of  a  creature  which  is  regarded  as  a  deity: 

e.g.,  the  sun,  fire,  animals,  images,  etc 313 

2.  Another  form  of  idolatry  is   when  a  human  being  gives  up   his 

whole  self  to  a  creature 314 

3.  The  service  of  idols  is  high  treason  against  the  majesty  of  God, 

and  the  most  heinous  of  sins 314 

30  Contents. 



1.  Superstition,   fortune- telling,   spiritualism,   and   magic,   are  foolish 

and  irrational  forms  of  worship 315 

2.  This  perverted  form  of  worship  is  a  grievous  sin '. . .       316 


We  sin  against  the  First  Commandment   by  neglecting  prayer,   by 

opposing   religion,   etc 317 


1.  We  honor  the  saints  because  they  are  the  friends  of  God,  princes 

of  the  heavenly  court,  and  benefactors  to  ourselves  ;  also  be 
cause  we  obtain  great  graces  from  God  through  venerating  them  318 

2.  We  venerate 'the  saints  if  we  entreat  their  intercession  with  God; 

if  we  celebrate  their  feasts,  reverence  their  images  and  their 
relics;  if  we  bear  their  name,  claim  their  protection  in  matters 
of  importance,  and  praise  them  in  word  and  song.  The  best 
manner  in  which  to  venerate  them  is  to  imitate  their  virtues.  . . .  319 


We  pay  greater  honor  to  Mary,  the  Mother  of  Christ,  than  to  any 

other  saint 323 

1.  We  hold  Mary  in  such  great  veneration  because  she  is  the  Mother 

of  God  and  our  Mother 323 

2.  Another  reason  why  Mary  is  so  highly  honored  throughout  Christ 

endom  is  because  God  has  exalted  her  above  all  men  and  angels.  .       324 

3.  Finally,  we  entertain  this  great  veneration  for  Mary,  because  her 

intercession  is  more  powerful  with  God  than  that  of  any  other 
saint 325 


1.  We  honor  the  images  of  the  saints  by  giving  them  a  place  in  our 

dwellings;  we  say  our  prayers  before  them,  we  salute  them  re 
spectfully,  we  adorn  them  with  offerings,  we  make  pilgrimages 
to  their  shrines 329 

2.  Through  venerating  the  images  of  the  saints,  efficacious  and  often 

times  supernatural  graces  are  obtained;  they  are  also  useful  as 
a  means  of  avoiding  distractions  in  prayer,  and  affording  us  a 
silent  admonition 330 


1.  We  honor  the  relics  of  the  saints  by  preserving  them  with  rever 

ence,  and  visiting  the  spot  where  they  are  deposited 331 

2.  We  obtain  many  blessings  from  God  by  venerating  relics 332 

We  can,  moreover,  honor  God  by  taking  an  oath  or  by  making  a  vow.       332 

Contents.  3 1 

The  Oath. 


1.  To  swear  or  take  an  oath  is  to  call  God  to  witness  that  one  is 

speaking  the  truth,  or  that  one  will  keep  a  promise 333 

The  Vow   (Solemn  Promise). 

1.  A  vow  is  a  promise  voluntarily  made  to  God  to  perform  some  good 

action 336 

2.  The  most  important  vows  are  the  religious  vows,  that  is  to  say, 

the  solemn  promise  made  voluntarily  by  persons  entering  a  re 
ligious  Order,  to  follow  the  evangelical  counsels 336 


We  owe  reverence  to  almighty  God,  because  He  is  a  Lord  of  infinite 

majesty  and  of  infinite  bounty 339 

1.  In  the  Second  Commandment,  God  commands  us  in  the  first  place 

to  show  due  respect  to  His  divine  majesty.  This  we  must  do  in 
the  following  manner:  We  should  call  frequently  upon  the  name 
of  God  with  true  and  heartfelt  devotion,  especially  at  the  com 
mencement  of  all  we  do,  and  in  time  of  trouble 339 

2.  We  ought  to  show  respect  for  all  that  appertains  to  divine  worship; 

more  especially  for  the  servants  of  God,  for  holy  places,  sacred 
things,  and  religious  ceremonies 340 

3.  We  ought  frequently  to  praise  and  magnify  almighty  God,  on  ac 

count  of  His  infinite  perfections  and  goodness,  especially  when  He 
reveals  His  perfections  in  a  special  manner,  or  confers  a  benefit 
upon  us 341 

4.  Furthermore,  God  prohibits  everything  which  is  a.  violation  of  the 

reverence  due  to  His  divine  majesty,  and  in  particular:    Taking 

the  name  of  God  in  vain 341 

5.  Swearing.     By  this  is  meant  the  use  of  holy  names  in  a  moment 

of  anger  as  an  imprecation  against  certain  persons  or  things.  . .  .       342 

6.  Indecorous  behavior  towards  persons  who  are  consecrated  to  the 

service  of  God,  holy  places,  sacred  objects  or  actions 343 

7.  Blasphemy.    Of  this  sin  those  are  guilty  who  revile  God,  His  saints, 

or  speak  contemptuously  of  objects  connected  with  His  worship.  .       343 

8.  Simony.     This  consists  in  selling  spiritualities  for  money  or  the 

equivalent  of  money 345 


In  the  Third  Commandment  of  the  Decalogue  God  commands  us  to 

sanctify  the  Sunday  and  to  work  six  days  in  the  week 347 


1.  God   commands  us  to   sanctify   the   seventh   day,  because   on   the 

seventh  day  He  rested  from  the  work  of  creation 347 

2,  Gc-cl  commanded  the  Jews  to  keep  holy  the  Sabbath  day 347 

32  Contents. 


3.  Sunday  was  appointed  by  the  apostles  as  the  day  of  rest  instead  of 

the  Sabbath,  because  Christ  rose  from  the  dead  on  Sunday 348 

4.  We  are  bound  on  Sunday   to  abstain   from  servile   work  and  to 

assist  at  the  public  Mass;  we  ought  moreover  to  employ  this 
day  in  providing  for  the  salvation  of  our  soul,  that  is  to  say  by 
approaching  the  Sacraments,  by  prayer,  hearing  sermons,  reading 
spiritual  books,  and  performing  works  of  mercy 348 


This  commandment  is  transgressed  by  performing  servile  work,  by 

carelessness  at  public  worship,  etc 350 


Motives  for  the  Sanctiftcation  of  Sunday. 

God  rewards  those  who  keep  holy  His  day,  and  its  profanation  is  fre 
quently  punished   351 


1.  The  obligation  to  work  was  laid  upon  mankind  by  God  after  the 

Fall  as  a  penance 353 

2.  Every  individual  who  can  work  is  bound  to  work.     St.  Paul  says: 

"  If  any  man  will  not  work,  neither  let  him  eat "   (2  Thess.  iii. 

10) 353 

3.  Every  man  is  bound  primarily  to  perform  the  work  appertaining 

to  his  calling  or  station 353 

4.  We  must  not  forget  God  in  what  we  do;    before  and  during  our 

work  we  should  implore  His  aid  and  renew  our  intention 354 

5.  Labor  obtains  a  temporal  and  an  eternal  recompense,  because  it 

is  a  kind  of  divine  worship.  The  temporal  recompense  is  con 
tentment  and  earthly  happiness 355 


It  is  lawful  to  seek  relaxation,  but  one  must  not  overdo  it 356 


1.  The  six  precepts  of  the  Church  are  an  amplification  of  the  Third 

Commandment  of  the  Decalogue 357 

2.  We  are  under  a  rigorous  obligation  to  keep  the  commandments  of 

the  Church,  for  disobedience  to  the  Church   is   disobedience  to 
Christ 357 


1.  In  the  first  commandment  of  the  Church  the  solemn  observance 

of  the  holydays  is  enjoined  upon  us.     There  are  seven  festivals 

of  Our  Lord,  five  of  Our  Lady,  and  three  of  the  saints .       358 

2.  The  holydays  of  obligation  ought  to  be  kept  in  the  same  manner 

as  the  Sundays;    we  must  abstain  from  servile  work  and  assist 

at  holy  Mass 359 

Contents.  33 

The  Ecclesiastical   Tear. 


1.  The  ecclesiastical   year   is   an   annual   commemoration   and   repre 

sentation  of  the  life  of  Christ,  and  of  the  time  before  and  after 

His  birth 359 

2.  The  ecclesiastical  year  begins  upon   the  first  Sunday  in   Advent. 

Its  three  principal  feasts  are  Christmas,  when  the  birth  of  Christ 
is  celebrated;  Easter,  the  day  of  His  resurrection;  and  Pente 
cost,  when  the  coming  of  the  Holy  Spirit  is  commemorated 360 

3.  The  aspect  of  nature  corresponds  to  the  three  principal  festivals. .       361 


By  the  second  commandment  of  the  Church  the  precept  of  fasting  is 

laid  upon  us 361 

In  the  second  commandment  of  the  Church  we  are  ordered  to  abstain 
on  all  Fridays  of  the  year;  to  fast  during  the  forty  days  of  Lent, 
on  the  Ember  days,  and  on  the  vigils  of  certain  feasts 362 

1.  We  are  forbidden  to  eat  meat  on  Friday,  because  on  that  day  Our 

Lord  died  for   us 352 

2.  During  the  forty  days  of  Lent  only  one  full  meal  is  to  be  taken,  as 

a  partial  imitation  of  Our  Lord's  fast  of  forty  days,  and  as  a 
suitable  preparation  for  celebrating  the  festival  of  Easter 363 

3.  We  ought  to  keep  the  fast  of,  the  Ember  days  strictly,  in  order  to 

implore   almighty   God   to   send   us   good   priests,   and   to   thank 

Him  for  the  benefits  received  during  the  past  quarter 363 

4    We  are  also  bound  to  fast  on  the  vigils  of  certain  feasts,  in  order 

the  better  to  prepare  ourselves  for  celebrating  those  feasts 363 

5.  It  is  by  no  means  the  desire  of  the  Church  that  we  should  fast  to 

the  injury  of  our  health,  or  that  we  should  thereby  be  hindered 
from  performing  the  duties  of  our  station 364 

6.  Fasting  is  beneficial  both  for  the  soul  and  the  body 365 


1.  In  the  third  and  fourth  commandments  the  Church  enjoins  upon 
us  the  duty  of  approaching  the  Sacrament  of  Penance  and  re 
ceiving  holy  communion  at  Easter 366 


By  the  fifth  commandment  of  the  Church  we  are  bound  to  contribute 

to  the  support  of  our  pastors 368 


in  the  sixth  commandment  marriage  with  non-Catholics  is  forbidden, 
also  the  marriage  of  those  who  are  related  withii  the,  fourth  de 
gree  of  kindred.  Marriarros  are  not  solemnized  during  fixed 
seasons.  These  penitential  times  are  from  the  beginning  of  Advent 
until  the  Epiphany,  and  from  Ash  Wednesday  until  Low  Sunday..  368 

34  Contents. 



In  the  Fourth  Commandment  God  enjoins  upon  us  to  honor  His  repre 
sentatives  upon  earth,  that  is  to  say,  our  parents,  and  both  the 
ecclesiastical  and  secular  authorities 368 


1.  Our  parents  are  to  be  honored,  because  they  are  God's  representa 

tives  and  our  greatest  benefactors 368 

2.  We  ought  to  honor  our  parents  by  respectful  behavior,  love,  and 

obedience 369 

3.  Our  duty  is  the  same  in  regard  to  those   who   are   in  authority 

over  us,  as  it  is  to  our  parents  ;  our  teachers  and  governors, 
masters  and  employers,  and  our  elders  in  general 371 

Transgressions  of  the  Fourth  Commandment. 

1.  He  transgresses  the  Fourth  Commandment  of  God  who  is  dis 
respectful  towards  his  parents;  who  behaves  rudely  to  them, 
is  ashamed  of  them,  etc 371 

How  does  God  Reward  the  Observance  of  the  Fourth  Commandment? 

1.  God   promises  long   life,   happiness,   and   blessings    upon   earth    to 

children  who  honor  their   parents 372 

2.  God  threatens  to  send  upon  those  who  do  not  honor  their  parents 

shame  upon  earth,  a  miserable  end,  everlasting  damnation 372 


1.  God  has  appointed  two  powers,  the  spiritual  and  the  secular,  for 

the  direction  of  human  society.  To  the  spiritual  po\ver  He  has 
committed  the  guidance  of  souls,  to  the  secular  the  mainte 
nance  of  peace  and  order 373 

2.  The  highest  spiritual   authority  was  given  by   God   to  the   Pope, 

the  highest  secular  authority  to  the  monarch  of  the  land;  in 
most  countries  the  people  have  a  share  in  the  secular  govern 
ment 374 

3.  Our  duties  towards  Pope  and  king  are  similar  to  our  duties  towards 

God,  for  they  are  both  His  representatives 374 

4.  He  who  grossly  offends  against  either  the  ecclesiastical  or  secular 

authorities,  has  to  expect  the  severe  chastisement  of  God  on 
earth,  and  punishment  in  the  world  to  come 377 

No  Christian  should  strive  for  a  position  he  is  not  competent  to  fill. .       378 


In  the  Fifth  Commandment  almighty  God  forbids  us  to  destroy  our 
own  life,  or  that  of  our  neighbor,  or  to  treat  the  lower  animals 
with  cruelty 380 

Contents.  35 



1.  Our  bodv  was  created  by  God  as  an  abode  for  our  immortal  soul.       380 

2.  Since  tne  life  ana  Health  of  the  body  are  of  great  importance  for 

the  life  of  the  soul,  and  for  our  eternal  salvation,  we  are  bound 
to  take  precautions  for  the  preservation  of  our  health  and  of 
our  me 381 

3.  Furthermore  we  are  under  a  strict  obligation  to  do  nothing  that 

tends  to  destroy  health  or  life.  Consequently  it  is  a  sin  to  rashly 
hazard  one's  life,  wantonly  to  injure  one's  health,  or  to  take  one's 
own  life 382 


A  strict  obligation   is  laid  upon   us   to  avoid   everything   that   may 

destroy  the  health  or  life  of  our  neighbor 384 

1.  Accordingly  it  is  sinful  to  wish  ill  to  one's  neighbor,  to  injure  his 

health,  to  challenge  him  or  accept  a  duel,  or  to  put  him  to  death 
unjustly  and  willingly 384 

2.  He  commits  a  still  greater  sin  who  destroys  the  spiritual  life  of  his 

neighbor,  either  by  tempting  him  to  evil  or  by  giving  scandal.  . .       386 

3.  It  iSj  however,  lawful  to  wound  or  even  to  kill  our  fellow-man  if 

he  threatens  to  taks  our  life  by  violence,  or  anything  that  is 
absolutely  indispensable  to  our  life,  and  we  have  no  other  means 
of  defence.  This  is  called  the  right  of  self-defence 388 

4.  He  who  has  wrongfully  injured  his  neighbor  either  physically  or 

spiritually,  is  bound  to  repair  the  harm  done  to  the  utmost  of  his 
power 389 


In  our  relations  to  animals  it  is  our  duty  to  care  for  their  well-being, 
to  refrain  from  tormenting  them,  not  to  kill  any  useful  animal 
without  a  special  reason,  and  finally  not  to  treat  them  with 
exaggerated  tenderness 391 


1.  In   the   Sixth    Commandment  almighty   God   prohibits   everything 

that  might  stain  our  own  purity  or  that  of  our  neighbor 392 

2.  Sins  against  the  Sixth  Commandment  of  God  are  for  the  most  part 

very  grievous  in  God's  sight  and  accordingly  are  severely  pun 
ished  by  Him 393 


I.  In  the  Seventh  Commandment  almighty  God  forbids  us  to  wrong 

our  neighbor  in  his  goods  and  property 393 


1.  Earthly  goods  are  necessary  to  man's  subsistence,  such   as  food, 

clothes,    a    dwelling-place,    money,    etc 

2.  Personal  property  is  justly  obtained  when  it  is  either  acquired  by 

labor  or  by  gift 394 

36  Contents. 

Sins  against  the  Seventh  Commandment. 


The  Seventh  Commandment  expressly  forbids:  theft,  robbery,  cheat 
ing,  usury,  injuring  the  property  of  another,  detention  of  goods 
that  have  been  found  or  lent,  and  the  non-payment  of  debts 395 

1.  We  are  in  danger  of  committing  mortal  sin  if  we  take  from  our 
neighbor  as  much  as  he  requht\s  to  support  him  one  day  in  a 
manner  suitable  to  his  position ' 397 


1.  He  who  has  purloined  from  his  neighbor  or  wronged  him  in  his 

property,  is  under  a  strict  obligation  to  restore  the  stolen  goods 

or  make  compensation  for  the  damage  done  (Lev.  vi.  1-5) 397 

2.  If  any  one  has  unwittingly  got  stolen  goods  in  his  possession,  he 

is  bound  to  give  them  up  to  the  rightful  owner,  as  soon  as  he 
becomes  aware  that  they  were  stolen 398 

3.  He  \vho  refuses  either  to  give  up  the  stolen  property  or  to  com 

pensate  for  the  loss  sustained,  will  not  obtain  pardon  of  his  sins 
from   God  nor  absolution  from  the   priest 398 


People  who  wrong  their  neighbor  in  his  property  generally  come  to 
shame  and  poverty,  often  die  unrepentant,  and  are  in  danger  of 
everlasting  damnation 


In  the  Eighth   Commandment   God   forbids   us   to   detract   from   our 

neighbor's  honor,  or  bear  false  witness  of  any  kind 400 


1.  A  good  reputation  is  a  precious  possession,  for  it  enables  us  to 

gain  riches  for  time  and  for  eternity 400 

2.  Above  all  we  ought  to  strive  to  acquire  a  good  name  among  men, 

and  for  that  reason  we  ought  to  let  our  good  works  be  known, 
and  we  ought  to  defend  our  character  if  it  be  aspersed  to  any 
great  extent 401 

3.  Furthermore,  we  ought  to  refrain  from  everything  that  may  wound 

our  neighbor's  honor:  thus  suspicion,  detraction,  slander,  and 
abuse  are  forbidden,  also  listening  with  pleasure  when  our  neigh 
bor  is  spoken  against 402 

4.  He  wrho  has  injured  his  neighbor's  reputation  is  strictly  bound  to 

restore  his  good  name;  either  by  apologizing,  if  the  offence  was 
committed  in  private,  or  by  publicly  retracting  his  words,  if  they 
were  spoken  before  others 405 

5.  Those  who  do  not  endeavor  to  repair  the  harm  they  have  done 

by  slandering  their  neighbor,   cannot  obtain  pardon   from   God, 

nor  absolution  from  the  priest 406 

Contents.  37 



1.  He  who  is  severe  in  his  judgment  of  his  neighbor,  will  in  his  -turn 

be  judged  severely  by  God 40y 


God  is  truth  itself;    consequently  He  forbids  every  kind  of  falsehood, 

especially  lying,  hypocrisy,  and  flattery 40  r 


1.  The  liar  is  like  the  devil  and  displeasing  to  God 409 

2.  The  pernicious  habit  of  lying  leads  a  man  into  mortal  sin  and  to 

eternal  perdition 410 

3.  Whoso  is  really  upright  is  like  almighty  God,  is  pleasing  in  His 

sight,  and  is  esteemed  by  his  fellow-men 411 


Sins  of  the  tongue  are  avoided  by  checking  talkativeness  and  being 

guarded  in  speech 412 


(See   Sixth   Commandment.) 


In  the  Tenth  Commandment  God  forbids  us  to  endeavor  to  possess 

ourselves  of  the  property  of  another  by  unlawful  means 413 


1.  In  our  own  day  a  large  proportion  of  the  so-called  Socialists  or 

social  democrats  aim  at  depriving  their  fellow-men  of  their  pri 
vate  property  by  unjust  means 414 

2.  All  who  endeavor  by  unlawful  means  to  deprive  their  neighbor  of 

his  personal  property,  live  in  a  state  of  mortal  sin 417 

XI.    THE    WORKS    OF    MERCY. 



1.  Earthly  riches  do  not  of  themselves  make  us  better  in  God's  sight.  .       418 

2.  Earthly  goods  have  their  value,  however,  because  with  them  we 

can  earn  eternal  felicity 418 

3.  God  is  the  Lord  of  all  earthly  riches;    we  are  only  His  stewards.  .       418 


1.  Christ  has  strictly  enjoined  upon  us  to  assist  our  neighbor  who 
is  in  need  with  our  earthly  goods;  for  He  will  only  grant  ever 
lasting  happiness  to  those  who  have  helped  their  fellow-men  who 
were  in  need . .  419 

38  Contents. 


2.  The  assistance  we  give  to  the  needy,  of  whatever  nature  it  may 

be,  is  an  alms,  or  work  of  mercy 420 

3.  The  works  of  mercy  are  either  spiritual  or  corporal,  according  as 

the  necessities  we  relieve  are  spiritual  or  corporal 420 


1.  The  corporal  works  of  mercy  are:     (1),  To  feed  the  hungry;     (2), 

To  give  drink  to  the  thirsty;  (3),  To  clothe  the  naked;  (4), 
To  harbor  the  stranger;  (5)  To  visit  the  sick;  (6)  To  ransom 
the  captive;  (7),  To  bury  the  dead 421 

2.  The  spiritual  works  of  mercy  are:     (1),  To  instruct  the  ignorant; 

(2),  To  counsel  the  doubtful;  (3),  To  admonish  sinners;  (4), 
To  bear  wrongs  patiently;  (5),  To  forgive  offences  willingly; 
(6),  To  comfort  the  afflicted;  (7),  To  pray  for  the  living  and  the 
dead 422 


We  ought  not  to  do  good  to  our  neighbor  in  order  to  be  seen  and 

praised  by  men  435 


1.  Almsgiving  obtains  for  us  the  remission  of  our  sins;    that  is  to 

say,  the  sinner  obtains  the  grace  of  repentance.,  while  the  just 
man  receives  the  pardon  of  venial  sin,  and  the  remission  of  the 
temporal  penalty 437 

2.  By  almsgiving  we  obtain  an  eternal  recompense,  provided  that  at 

the  time  we  are  in  a  state  of  grace 428 

3.  Almsgiving   brings   down   upon    us    temporal    blessings;     God    in 

creases  our  means  and  gives  us  bodily  health 428 


1.  For  every  act  of  mercy  done  to  us,  we  are  bound  to  render  thanks, 

first  to  God  and  then  to  our  benefactor;    for  God  requires  of  us 

that  we  should  be  grateful  tor  the  benefits  we  receive 429 

2.  By  our  gratitude  we  obtain  fresh  favors,  whereas  ingratitude  brings 

misfortunes  upon  us 430 


Poverty  is  no  disgrace  in  God's  sight;   the  poor  are  beloved  by  God 

and  save  their  souls  more  easily 431 

38.  (Boob  Worfcs,  IDirtue,  Sin,  Wee. 

I.    GOOD    WORKS. 

1.  The  name  of  good  works  is  given  to  such  voluntary  actions  on  the 

part  of  man  as  are  in  conformity  with  the  will  of  God,  are  per 
formed  for  the  love  of  God,  and  consequently  will  be  rewarded 
by  God .' 434 

2.  The  good  works  most  pleasing  in  God's  sight  are  these:     Prayer, 

fasting,  and  almsdeeds 435 

Contents.  39 

3.  Eren  the  most  trifling  works  are  pleasing  to  God  if  they  are  done 

with  the  intention  of  promoting  His  glory 43$ 

4.  Good  works  are  necessary  to  salvation 43g 

5.  Through  good  works  the  sinner  obtains  the  actual  graces  which 

are  necessary  for  his  conversion;  the  just  man  obtains  an  in 
crease  of  sanctifying  grace,  eternal  felicity,  and  the  remission 
of  the  temporal  penalty  of  sin ;  furthermore  his  prayers  are  heard, 
and  sometimes  earthly  blessings  are  bestowed  on  him 437 

6.  We  can  apply  to  others,  either  to  the  living  or  to  the  dead,  the 

merit  of  our  good  works 433 


1.  Virtue  consists  in  proficiency  in  the  practice  of  good  works,  and 

the  tendency  of  the  will  towards  what  is  good,  resulting '  from 
persevering  exercise 439 

2.  It  is  only  perfect  virtue,  i.e.,  those  acts  of  virtue  which  are  per 

formed  for  the  glory  of  God,  which  will  be  rewarded  after  death . .       439 

3.  Virtue   can  only  be   acquired   and   increased   by   dint  of   struggle 

and  self-conquest;  for  many  obstacles  have  to  be  encountered, 
inward  hindrances,  the  evil  proclivities  of  the  human  heart,  and 
outward  hindrances,  the  contempt  and  persecution  of  men 440 

4.  Virtue  procures  for  us  real  happiness  both  in  time  and  in  eternity..      440 


1.  The  virtues  that  unite  our  soul  to  God  are  the  three  theological 

virtues:    Faith,  Hope,  and  Charity 443 

2.  Those  virtues  which  have  the  effect  of  bringing  our  actions  into 

conformity  with  the  moral  law,  are  called  moral  virtues.  These 
we  gain  for  ourselves  by  our  own  exertions  and  the  assistance 
of  divine  grace,  after  we  have  received  sanctifying  grace 443 

3.  The  principal  moral  virtues  are  the  seven   capital   virtues:     Hu 

mility,  obedience,  meekness,  liberality,  temperance,  chastity,  dili 
gence  in  what  is  good 444 

4.  All    the   moral   virtues    proceed    from    the    four    cardinal    virtues: 

Prudence,  justice,  temperance,  and  fortitude  (Wisd.  viii.  7) 444 

5.  All  perfect  virtues  spring  from  the  love  of  God  and  are  inseparably 

united  together  by  that  same  love  (1  Cor.  xiii.) 445 

6.  The  greatest  and  noblest  of  all  the  virtues  is  charity 447 

7.  The  virtues  can  always  be  increased 447 

8.  All  perfect  virtue  is  lost  immediately  upon  falling  into  mortal  sin, 

for  thereby  the  love  of  God  is  lost,  without  which  there  can  be  no 
perfect  virtue 448 

III.    SIN. 

1.  He  who   wittingly  and  willingly  transgresses  one  of  God's  com 

mandments  is  guilty  of  sin 449 

2.  Sin  is  in  its  essence  an  unlawful  turning  towards  the  creature  and 

turning  away  from  God 450 


In  the  development  of  sin  temptation  first  arises,  then  comes  the 
resolutions  to  commit  sin;  after  that,  if  opportunity  offers,  the 
exterior  act  is  committed 451 

40  Contents. 



There  are  different  kinds  of  sin. 

1.  Sins  are  generally  divided  into  sins  of  word,  of  thought,  and  of 

deed ' 454 

2.  A  distinction  also  exists  between  our  own  sins,  and  the  sins  in 

which  we  co-operate 454 


1.  All  sins  are  not  equally  great 456 

2.  Many  sins  are  so  great  that  they  separate  us  entirely  from  God, 

and  deprive  us  of  His  friendship;  they  are  called  mortal  or  deadly 

sins.     Sins  of  lesser  moment  are  called  venial  sins 456 

3.  He  commits  a  mortal   sin   who   consciously  and   of  his   own   free 

wrill  does  grievo\is  dishonor  to  God,  or  wrong  to  his  neighbor  in 
a  weighty  matter;  who  does  injury  to  his  own  life,  or  to  the  life, 
the  property,  or  the  reputation  of  his  neighbor 453 

4.  He  commits  a  venial  sin  who  only  injures  something  of  trifling 

consequence,  or  who,  though  he  injures  something  of  great  im 
portance,  injures  it  very  slightly,  or  does  so  almost  unconsciously 
and  to  some  extent  unwittingly 458 

5.  All  mortal   sins  are  not  of  equal   magnitude,   nor  are   all   venial 

sins  of  the  same  importance.  The  most  heinous  sins  are  the 
sins  against  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  those  that  cry  to  heaven  for 
vengeance 45«* 

6.  He  commits  a  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  who  persistently  and 

wilfully  resists  the  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost 459 

7.  Sins  that  cry  to  heaven  for  vengeance  are  sins  of  great  malice. 

They  are:  Wilful  murder,  oppression  of  the  poor,  defrauding 
laborers  of  their  wages,  and  the  sin  of  Sodom 460 

8.  A  distinction  must  be  made  between  venial  sins  and  imperfections. 

Imperfections  are  faults  which  are  due  not  to  a  bad  will,  but  to 
human  frailty 461 


1.  Mortal  sin  deprives  a  man  of  sanctifying  grace,  and  delivers  him 

into  the  power  of  the  devil 462 

2.  Mortal  sin  brings  down  upon  the  sinner  both  eternal  damnation 

and  temporal  chastisement 463 


1.  Venial  sin  gradually  leads  to  mortal  sin,  and  eventuates  in  the 

loss  of  sanctifying  grace 465 

2.  There  are  temporal   penalties   due   to   venial   sin,   and   these   will 

come  down  upon  us  either  on  earth  or  after  death  in  purgatory. .       465 

IV.    VICE. 

1.  Vice  is  proficiency  in  the  practice  of  evil,  and  the  confirmed  tend 

ency  of  the  will  towards  evil  which  is  acquired  by  habitual  sin.       466 

2.  Habitual  sin  makes  a  man  supremely  unhappy,  because  it  deprives 

him  completely  of  sanctifying  grace,  subjects  him  entirely  to 
the  dominion  of  the  devil,  and  brings  down  on  him  many  tem 
poral  judgments  as  well  as  eternal  damnation 467 

Contents.  41 


3.  The  most  ordinary  sins  are  the  seven  capital  sins:  Pride,  dis 
obedience,  anger,  avarice,  intemperance  in  eating  and  drinking, 
unchastity,  sloth. 4gg 


1.  There  is  no  man  upon  earth  without  sin;    consequently  there  is 

none  who  does  not  need  the  forgiveness  of  sin. . . 469 

2.  We  can  obtain  forgiveness  of  sin,  because  Christ  merited   it   for 

us  by  the  death  of  the  cross;  and  because  He  gave  power  to 
forgive  sins  to  His  apostles  and  their  successors 469 

3.  Mortal  sin  is  remitted     y  Baptism  and  penance;    venial  sin,  and 

the  temporal  penalties  due  to  it,  by  good  Avorks  done  in  a  state 
of  grace.  These  good  works  are:  Prayer,  fasting,  almsgiving, 
hearing  holy  Mass,  receiving  holy  communion,  use  of  the  sacra- 
mentals,  gaining  indulgences,  forgiving  offences 470 

4.  There  is  no  sin  too  great  for  God  to  forgive  here  below,  if  it  be 

sincerely  repented  of  and  humbly  confessed 470 


1.  Temptation  is  the  action  of  the  evil  spirit  upon  our  soul,  in  order 

to  induce  us  to  sin;    he  excites  within  us  the  concupiscence  of 

the  flesh,  the  concupiscence  of  the  eyes,  or  the  pride  of  life 471 

2.  God  allows  us  to  be  tempted  out  of  mercy,  and  for  the  good  of 

our  souls 472 

3.  We  ought  to  protect  ourselves  from  temptation  by  assiduous  work, 

by  keeping  our  thoughts  fixed  upon  God,  and  by  continual  self- 
conquest  473 

4.  When  we  are  tempted  we  ought  to  betake  ourselves  immediately  to 

prayer,   or   think  of   our   last   end   or   of   the   evil   consequences 

of  sin 474 


1.  By   occasions   of   sin   ar;e   meant    such   places,   persons,    or   things, 

which  as  a  rule  are  the  means  of  leading  us  into  sin,  if  we  go  in 
quest  of  them 475 

2.  To  expose  one's  self  heedlessly  to  an  occasion  of  sin,  is  in  itself 

a  sin;    it  entails  the  loss  of  divine  grace  and  leads  to  mortal  sin.       475 

3.  He  who  finds  himself  in  circumstances  which  are  an  occasion  of 

sin  to  him,  and  does  not  instantly  leave  them,  although  it  is 
in  his  power  to  do  so,  commits  a  sin;  he  will  be  deprived  of  the 
assistance  of  divine  grace  and  will  fall  into  mortal  sin 476 

4.  He  who  refuses  to  give  up  what  is  to  him  an  occasion  of  sin,  can 

not  expect  to  obtain  pardon  of  sin  here,  or  eternal  salvation  here 
after : 476 

5.  The  most  common  and  the  most  dangerous  occasions  of  sin  are: 

Liquor   saloons,    dancing   saloons,   bad   theatres,   bad   periodicals 

and  bad  novels 477 



1.  The  humble  man  is  he  who  acknowledges  his  own  nothingness 
and  the  nothingness  of  all  earthly  things,  and  comports  himself 
in  accordance  with  this  conviction 4'9 

42  Contents. 

2.  Christ  gave  us  in  Himself  the  grandest  example  of  humility,  for 

He,  being  the  Son  of  God,  took  the  form  of  a  servant,  chose  to 
live  in  great  lowliness,  was  most  condescending  in  His  inter 
course  with  men,  and  finally,  voluntarily  endured  the  ignomini 
ous  death  of  the  cross 481 

3.  Humility   leads   to  greater  sanctity,   to   exaltation,   and   to   ever 

lasting  felicity 482 


1.  He  is  proud  who  overestimates  his  own  wrorth,   or  the  value  of 

bis  earthly  possessions  and  shows  openly  that  he  does  so 483 

2.  Pride  leads  to  all  manner  of  vices,  to  degradation  here,  and  eternal 

damnation  hereafter;  it  also  destroys  the  value  of  all  our  good 
works 484 


1.  Obedience  consists   in  being   ready   to   fulfil   the   behest   of   one's 

superior 435 

2.  Obedience  is  the  most  difficult  and  at  the  same  time  the  most  ex 

cellent  of  all  the  moral  virtues  (St.  Thomas  Aquinas) 486 

3.  By  our  obedience  we  accomplish  the  will  of  God  most  surely,  and 

we  attain  certainly  and  quickly  to  a  high  degree  of  perfection. . .       487 


1.  Disobedience  consists  in  not  fulfilling  the  commands  of  one's  su 

periors  487 

2.  Disobedience  brings  temporal  misfortune  and  eternal  misery  upon 

man , 488 


1.  Patience  consists  in  preserving  one's  serenity  of  mind  amid  all  the 

contrarieties  of  this  life,  for  the  love  of  God 488 

2.  Patience  produces  many  virtues  and  leads  to  salvation 489 


1.  Meekness  consists  in  showing  for  the  love  of  God,  no  irritation 

when  wrong  is  done  us 490 

2.  By  meekness  we  gain  power  over  our  fellow-men,  we  attain  peace 

of   mind,   and   eternal   salvation 490 

Pea ceab  Icness. 

1.  Peaceableness  consists  in  willingly  making  a  sacrifice  for  the  sake 

of  remaining  at  peace  with  one's  neighbor  or  reconciling  one's 

self  with   him 492 

2.  Peacemakers  enjoy   the   special   protection   of  God   and   receive   a 

hundredfold  as  the  reward  of  all  that  they  give  up  for  the  sake 

of  peace , ... , , ....... , . , , , , 492 

Contents.  43 



1.  Wrath  consists  in  exciting  one's  self  about  something  at  which 

one   is  displeased 493 

2.  Those  who  indulge  anger  injure  their  health,  temporarily  lose  the 

use  of  reason,  make  themselves  hated,  and  incur  the  danger  of 
losing  eternal  salvation 493 


1.  Liberality  consists  in  being  ready  and  willing,  for  the  love  of  God, 

to  give  pecuniary  assistance  to  those  who  are  in  need 495 

2.  By  liberality   we   obtain   forgiveness   of   sin   and*   eternal   reward, 

and  temporal  blessings,  besides  a  speedy  answer  to  prayer  and 

the  friendship  of  our  fellow-men 495 


1.  Avarice  consists  in  an  inordinate  craving  for  riches,  which  makes 

a  man  not  only  strive  after  them,  but  refuse  to  give  any  portion 

of  his  goods  to  the  poor 495 

2.  The  avaricious  are  miserable  both  in  time  and  in  eternity;    for 

the  sake  of  money  they  commit  all  manner  of  sins,  they  lose 
the  faith  and  their  peace  of  mind,  they  are  cruel  to  themselves 
and  hardhearted  to  their  neighbor,  and  finally  perish  eternally. .  496 


1.  Temperance   consists    in   not   eating    and    drinking   more    than    is 

necessary,  and  not  being  either  too  greedy  or  too  dainty  in  re 
gard  to  the  nourishment  one  takes 498 

2.  Temperance  is  highly  advantageous  to  soul  and  body:    it  improves 

the  health,  lengthens  life,  strengthens  the  faculties  of  the  mind, 
fosters  virtue,  and  leads  to  everlasting  life. 498 


1.  Intemperance  consists  in  eating  and  drinking  much  more  than  is 

necessary,  and  in  being  greedy  or  dainty  in  regard  to  one's  food.  .       498 

2.  By  intemperance  a  man   injures  his   health,  Aveakens  his  mental 

faculties,  destroys  his  reputation,  and  reduces  himself  to  poverty; 
falls  into  vice,  often  comes  to  a  miserable  end,  and  is  eternally 
lost 499 


1.  Chastity    consists    in    preserving    the    mind    and    body    free    from 

everything  that  might  stain  their  innocence 500 

2.  Those  who  lead  a  life  of  chastity,  possess  the  sanctifying  grace  of 

the  Holy  Spirit  in  abundant  measure;  they  will  be  happy  here  on 
earth,  and  will  enjoy  special  distinction  in  heaven  hereafter.  ...  501 


1.  Unchastity   consists   in  thoughts,   words  or  deeds,  which   are   de 

structive   of   innocence 504 

2.  Unchaste  persons  do  not  possess  the  sanctifying  grace  of  the  Holy 

Ghost,  they  are  severely  chastised  by  God  in  this  life,  and  after 
death  are  condemned  to  eternal  perdition ....,,...,..  504 

44  Contents. 

13.  ZEAL  IN  WHAT  is  GOOD. 


1.  Zeal  in  what  is  good  consists  in  working  out  one's  salvation  with 

all   earnestness   and   fervor 505 

2.  Without  zeal  in  what  is  good  we  cannot  be  saved,  for  the  kingdom 

of  heaven   suffereth   violence 506 


1.  Sloth  consists  in  shunning  everything  that  conduces  either  to  our 

temporal  or  eternal  well-being,  provided  it  be  toilsome 507 

2.  Idleness  leads  to  all  kinds  of  vice;     it  brings  misery  in  this  life 

and  eternal  damnation  in  the  life  to  come 507 

<L  Christian  perfection. 


1.  God  requires  of  all  the  just  that  they  should  aspire  to  Christian 

perfection 509 

2.  The    most   sublime    example   of    Christian    perfection   is    found    in 

Our  Lord.    After  Him,  the  saints  are  also  patterns  of  perfection.  .        509 

3.  The  perfection  of  the   Christian   consists  in  charity   towards  God 

and  his  neighbor,  and  in  detachment  of  heart  from  the  things  of 

this  world • 510 



In  order  to  make  sure  of  attaining  Christian  perfection,  the  following 

!  means  should  be  adopted 512 

1.  Fidelity  in  small  things 512 

2.  A  habit  of  self-control 512 
3.  Abstinence   from   all   that  is   superfluous,   especially   in  regard  to 

eating  and  drinking. 513 

4.  Order  and  regularity 514 

5.  Unremitting  prayer 514 

6.  Frequent  confession  and  communion 515 

7.  Reading  attentively  the  life  of  Our  Lord  and  the  lives  of  the  saints, 

and  meditation  on  the  truths  of  religion 515 

8.  Love  of  solitude 515 



1.  He  who  aspires  to  a  higher  degree  of  perfection  must  follow  the 

three  evangelical  counsels:    Perfect  obedience,  perpetual  chastity, 

and  voluntary  poverty 516 

2.  These  three  counsels  are  called  the  evangelical  counsels,  because 

Our  Lord  gave  them  to  us  when  He  preached  the  Gospel,  and  fol 
lowed  them  Himself §.  518 

3.  The  evangelical  counsels  lead  to  higher  perfection,  because  by  their 

means  the  three  evil  concupiscences  in  man  are  completely  de 
stroyed,  and  the  chief  obstacles  in  the  way  of  his  salvation 
are  removed . .  , r  •  •  ? ................  518 

Contents.  45 


4.  Not  every  one  is  called  of  God  to  follow  the  evangelical  counsels; 

for  Our  Lord  says :    "  All  men  take  not  this  word,  but  they  to 
whom  it  is  given  "   (Matt.  xix.  11) 510 

5.  The  members  of  religious  Orders  are  bound  to  follow  the  evan 

gelical   counsels,,   and   likewise   all   persons  living   in  the   world, 

who  have  taken  a  vow  to  do  so 5^9 


Those  who  scrupulously  keep  God's  commandments  are  happy  even 
on  earth.  Therefore  God  declared  blessed  those  who  are  poor  in 
spirit,  the  meek,  they  that  mourn,  they  that  hunger  for  His  jus 
tice,  the  merciful,  the  clean  of  heart,  the  peacemakers,  and  they 
that  suffer  persecution  for  the  right 521 


fIDeane  of  (Brace. 




1.  The  word  sacrifice  signifies  the  voluntary  surrender  or  the  destruc 
tion  of  an  object  which  we  value,  to  give  honor  to  God  as  our 
supreme  Lord 526 


1.  The   sacrifice   which    reconciled    God   with    man    was   that   which 

Christ  offered  upon  the  cross 529 

2.  The  sacrifice  of  Christ  upon  the  cross  was  a  vicarious  sacrifice  for 

the  sins  of  all  mankind,  and  a  sacrifice  of  superabundant  value.  .       530 

3.  The  graces  which   Christ  merited  for  us  by   His   death   are   com 

municated  to  us  by  the  means  of  grace;  that  is  to  say,  the  holy 
sacrifice  of  the  Mass,  the  sacraments,  the  sacramentals,  and 
prayer 531 


1.  The  Son  of  God  offered  a  sacrifice  at  the  Last  Supper,  because  He 

gave  His  body  and  blood  to  be  offered  up,  in  order  to  reconcile 

His  heavenly  Father  with  man 532 

2.  We  call  the  sacrifice  instituted  by  Our  Lord  at  the  Last  Supper, 

holy  Mass,  or  the  sacrifice  of  the  Mass 535 

3.  What  takes  place  in  the  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  this:    The  priest 

at  the  altar,  as  the  representative  of  Christ,  offers  up  bread 
and  wine  to  almighty  God;  he  changes  these  substances  into  the 
body  and  blood  of  Christ,,  and  destroys  them  by  consuming  them.  536 

4.  There  are  three  distinct  parts  in  the  sacrifice  »of  the  Mass:    The 

offertory,  the  consecration,  and  the  communion , 537 

46  Contents. 



1.  In  the  course  of  time  many  ceremonies  of  deep  significance  grouped 

themselves  around   the   holy  sacrifice   of  the  Mass,  which   were 

not  to  be  omitted  without  absolute  necessity 539 

2.  The  whole  story  of  the  Redemption  is  symbolically  represented  by 

the  ceremonies  of  the  Mass 540 



1.  The  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  a  living  renewal  of  the  sacrifice  of  the 

cross,  for  in  the  Mass,  as  upon  the  cross,  Christ  immolates  Him 
self 541 

2.  In  the  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  all  the  sacrifices  made  by  Our  Lord 

are  also  renewed 543 



1.  By  means  of  the  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  the  fruits  of  the  sacri 

fice  of  the  cross  are  applied  to  us  in  most  abundant  measure; 
more  particularly  we  obtain  thereby  forgiveness  of  sin,  certitude 
that  our  prayers  are  heard,  temporal  blessings,  and  eternal  re 
wards 543 

2.  Those  who  participate  in  the  fruits  of  the  holy  sacrifice  of  the 

Mass  are:  First,  the  individual  for  whom  it  is  celebrated;  then 
the  priest  and  all  who  are  present;  finally,  all  the  faithful  both 
living  and  dead;  moreover  the  holy  sacrifice  gives  joy  to  all 
the  angels  and  saints. 545 


1.  The  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  only  offered  to  God;    it  may  be 

offered  to  Him  with  a  fourfold  intention:    By  way  of  atonement, 

of  petition,  of  praise,  or  of  thanksgiving 547 

2.  The  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  may  also  be  offered  in  honor  of  the 

angels    or    saints 548 

3.  The  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  can  also  be  offered  for  the  souls  of 

the  departed   who  have-  been  members  of  the  Catholic   Church, 

and  have  not  died  in  a  state  of  mortal  sin 548 

4.  The  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  can,  however,  be   offered   for  the 

Jiving,  whether  Catholics  or  non-Catholics 549 


1.  As  the  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  an  oblation  of  infinite  value, 
to  celebrate  or  to  hear  Mass  is  a  good  work  which  surpasses  all 
other  good  works  in  excellence 550 


We  ought  to  be  very  devout  at  Mass;  that  is,  we  ought  to  banish 
from  our  minds  all  that  may  cause  distraction,  and  endeavor 
to  unite  our  supplications  to  those  of  the  priest,  especially  in  the 
three  principal  parts  of  the  Mass 551 

1.  Whispering,  laughing,  looking  about  at  the  time  of  Mass  must  be 
carefully  avoided;  moreover  it  is  unseemly  to  come  to  Mass 
overdressed . .  551 

Contents.  47 


2.  When  assisting  at  the  holy  sacrifice,  we  ought  to  unite  our  sup 

plications  to  those  of  the  priest,  but  it  is  not  necessary  to  use 

the  same  prayers  as  he  does 553 

3.  At  the  three  principal  parts  of  the  Mass  we  should  to  a  certain 

extent  suspend  our  private  devotions,  and  fix  our  attention  upon 
what  is  done  at  the  altar 553 

4.  It  is  an  excellent  practice  immediately  after  the  consecration  to 

make  to  our  heavenly  Father  a  definite  act  of  offering  of  His 
divine  Son  sacrificed  upon  the  altar,  and  of  His  Passion  and 
death 555 

5.  At  the  communion,  if  we  do  not  communicate  actually,  we  ought 

to  do  so  spiritually 555 

6.  It  is  not  possible  to  hear  two  or  more  Masses  at  the  same  time; 

therefore  when  in  church  we  ought  to  follow  one  Mass  attentively 

and  not  more  than  one 555 


1.  Every  Catholic  is  bound,  under  pain  of  mortal  sin,  to  hear  the 

whole  of  one  Mass  devoutly  every  Sunday  and  holyday  of  obli 
gation  556 

2.  To  hear  Mass  on  week-days,  if  possible,  is  a  highly  commendable 

practice,  for  it  may  be  the  means  of  gaining  the  greatest  graces.  .       557 


The  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  generally  to  be  celebrated  between 

sunrise  and  noon 558 


The  apostles  celebrated  the  holy  sacrifice  on  a  table;  during  the  per 
secution  of  the  Christians  Mass  was  offered  on  the  tombs  of  the 
martyrs 559 


The  various  portions  of  the  sacerdotal  vestments  are  commemorative 

of  Our  Lord's  Passion 562 


1.  In  the  vestments  worn  by  the  priest  at  Mass,  the  Church  makes 

use  of  five  colors:    White,  red,  green,  purple  and  black 563 

2.  These  colors  not  only  depict  the  course  of  Our  Lord's  life  on  earth, 

but  serve  as  a  constant  admonition  to  us  to  lead  a  pious  life. . . .       564 


The  Latin  language  is  used  in  the  services  of  the  Church ;  it  helps  to 

maintain  her  unity  and  preserves  her  from  many  evils 565 


The  singing  of  which  the  Church  makes  use  is  called  the  Gregorian 

chant,  congregational,  and  choir  singing 566 

48  Contents. 



1.  The  Word  of  God  is  said  to  be  the  food  of  the  soul,  because  it  sus 

tains  the  life  and  strength  of  the  soul,  as  bread  does  that  of  the 
body 569 

2.  Hence  it  is  the  duty  of  every  Christian  either  to  hear  sermons 

frequently,  or  to  read  spiritual  books  and  make  a  practical  ap 
plication  of  what  he  hears  or  reads 570 

3.  Those  who  are  assiduous  in  hearing  sermons  or  reading  spiritual 

books,  will  not  have  great  difficulty  in  attaining  eternal  salva 
tion  571 


1.  The  sacraments  are  sensible  signs  instituted  by  Christ,  by  means 

of  which  the  graces  of  the  Holy  Spirit  are  communicated  to  us. .       572 

2.  Christ  instituted  seven  sacraments:    Baptism,  Confirmation,  Holy 

Eucharist,  Penance,  Extreme  Unction,,  Holy  Orders  and  Matri 
mony ' 573 

3.  By  the  three  sacraments,  Baptism,  Confirmation,  and  Holy  Orders, 

there  is  imprinted  upon  the  soul  a  certain  spiritual  and  indelible 
mark  or  character,  on  account  of  which  they  cannot  be  repeated.  .  574 

4.  Two  of  the  sacraments,  Baptism  and  Penance,  are  instituted  princi 

pally  with  the  object  of  conferring  sanctifying  grace  where  it 
was  not  already  given;  the  five  others  with  the  object  of  in 
creasing  that  gift 574 

5.  Due  preparation  must  be  made  before  receiving  the  sacraments,  in 

order  to  obtain  the  graces  they  convey 575 

6.  Supposing   the   priest   who  administers   the   sacrament  to   be    un 

worthy,  the  graces  of  the  Holy  Spirit  will  still  be  communicated 

by  means  of  the  sacrament 576 

1.   BAPTISM. 

1.  This  is  what  takes  place  at  Baptism:    Water  is  poured  upon  the 

head  of  the  person  to  be  baptized,  and  at  the  same  time  the 
words  appointed  by  Our  Lord  are  repeated;  the  person  is  thereby 
cleansed  from  original  sin  and  all  other  sins,  he  is  gifted  writh 
habitual  and  sanctifying  grace,  and  becomes  a  child  of  God,  an 
heir  of  heaven,  and  a  member  of  the  Church 577 

2.  Baptism  acts  spiritually  as  water  does  materially 578 

3.  Baptism  is  indispensably  necessary  to  salvation.     Hence  children 

who  die  unbaptized  cannot  enter  heaven 579 

4.  Hence  it  follows  that  parents  ought  to  have  their  children  baptized 

immediately  after  their  birth,  because  new-born  infants  hover 
between  life  and  death 580 

5.  In  case  of  necessity  any  one  can  administer  Baptism  and  without 

the  usual   ceremonies 58Q 

6.  If  baptism  by  water  is  impossible,  it  may  be  replaced  by  the  bap 

tism  of  desire,  or  by  the  baptism  of  blood,  as  in  the  case  of  those 

who  suffer  martyrdom  for  the  faith  of  Christ 580 

7.  In  the  early  ages  of  the  Church  solemn  Baptism  was  administered 

on  three  days  of  the  year:  Holy  Saturday,  the  eve  of  Whit 
sunday,  and  in  the  East  on  the  eve  of  the  Epiphany 581 

Contents.  49 



1.  The  ceremonial   of  Confirmation   is  as   follows:     The   bishop   lays 

his  hands  upon  the  candidates  and  anoints  each  one  severally 
with  chrism  upon  the  forehead,  with  prayer;  and  those  who  are 
so  anointed  receive  the  gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  especially  courage 
to  profess  their  faith 535 

2.  The  supernatural  effect  of  Confirmation  is  similar  to  the  natural 

effect  of  oil ; 535 

3.  Christians  ought  to  be  confirmed  at  the  age  when  they  pass  from 

childhood  to  youth,  because  at  that  period  temptations  thicken 
around  them,  and  they  need  strength  of  will  to  resist  them 586 

4.  The  candidate   for  Confirmation   ought   previously   to  go   to   con 

fession,  and  if  possible  to  holy  communion;  for  to  receive  this 
sacrament  one  must  be  in  a  state  of  grace 587 

5.  Confirmation  is  usually  administered  about  Whitsuntide,   as  the 

bishop  visits  the  whole  of  his  diocese  at  intervals  of  a  few  years.       587 


1.  The  body  of  Christ  under  the  appearance  of  bread,  and  the  blood 

of  Christ  under  the  appearance  of  wine,  is  called  the  Most  Holy 
Sacrament  of  the  Altar 589 

2.  The  presence  of  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ  under  the  appearance 

of  bread  and  wine  is  a  mystery,  because  our  feeble  reason  can 
not  comprehend  it 590 

3.  It  is  most  true  that  under  the  species  of  bread,  as  also  under  the 

species  of  wine,  Christ  is  present,  God  and  man,  whole  and  entire.       591 

4.  Our  Lord   is   present   in   every   particle,,   however   minute,   of  the 

consecrated  bread  and  wine 592 

5.  Christ  is  present  in  the  consecrated  elements  as  long  as  the  acci 

dents  of  bread  and  wine  remain 592 

6.  The  duties  of  the  Christian  :i  regard  to  the  Holy  Sacrament  of 

the  Altar  are  these:    He  ought  to  visit  it  frequently,  to  adore  it, 

and  to  receive  it 592 


1.  The  Holy  Sacrament  of  the  Altar  is  the  nourishment  of  our  souls.  .       594 

2.  We  are  bound  under  pain  of  mortal  sin  to  communicate  at  least 

once  a  year,  and  that  at  Easter;  also  in  case  of  dangerous  ill 
ness.  It  is,  moreover,  the  wish  of  the  Church  that  the  faithful 
should,  if  possible,  receive  holy  communion  on  Sundays  and 
holydays 595 


Holy  communion  acts  spiritually,  as  bread  and  wine  act  materially.  . .       597 

1.  By  holy  communion  wre  are  united  more  closely  to  Christ.     Our 

'Lord  "says:  "He  that  eateth  My  flesh  and  dfinketh  My  blood, 
abideth  in  Me,  and  I  in  him  "  (John  vi.  57) 587 

2.  Holy  communion   imparts  actual  graces,  and  also  maintains  and 

increases  sanctifying  grace  in  the  soul 598 

3.  The  force  of  evil  concupiscence  is  lessened  by  holy  communion,  and 

we  are  freed  from  venial  sin  by  means  of  it H98 

4.  Holy  communion  often  affords  much  refreshment  to  the  soul 599 

50  Contents. 




1.  We  must  make  a  suitable  preparation  of  body  and   soul  before 

receiving  holy   communion 599 

2.  The  manner   in   which   we  should   prepare  our   soul   is  this:     We 

must  cleanse  our  souls  from  mortal  sin  by  confession,  perform 
good  works  and  adorn  ourselves  with  the  virtues 600 

3.  Our  body  must  be  prepared  for  holy  communion  by  fasting  from 

midnight;    by  dressing  in  a  neat  and  suitable  manner,  and  by 

a  reverent  deportment  at  the  time  of  communion 602 


After  receiving  communion  we  should  make  our  thanksgiving,  and 
proffer  our  petitions  to  almighty  God,  praying  for  the  Pope, 
for  the  authorities,  secular  and  ecclesiastical,  for  our  relatives, 
friends,  and  benefactors,  and  for  the  holy  souls  in  purgatory. ...  603 


Spiritual  communion  consists  in  a\vakening  within  the  heart  a  lively 

desire   to   receive   holy   communion 604 



1.  In  the  Sacrament  of  Penance   the   repentant   Christian   confesses 

his  sin  to  a  duly-authorized  priest,  who,  standing  in  the  place 
of  God,  pronounces  the  absolution  by  means  of  which  they  are 
forgiven 605 

2.  The  Sacrament  of  Penance  is  indispensably  necessary  for  those  who 

have  fallen  into  sin  after  Baptism,,  for  without  this  sacrament 
they  are  unable  to  recover  the  justice  they  have  lost 606 

3.  Let  no  one  be  deterred   by   a   feeling   of  shame   from   confessing 

his  sins;  the  priest  dare  not,  under  any  pretext,  reveal  what  is 
said  in  the  confessional,  and  he  is  ever  ready  to  receive  the  con 
trite  sinner  kindly 607 

4.  He  who  from  a  sense  of  shame  conceals  a  mortal  sin  in  confession, 

does  not  obtain  forgiveness,  but  only  adds  to  his  other  sins  that 
of  sacrilege,  and  exposes  himself  to  the  grave  risk  of  dying 
impenitent 608 


1.  No  priest  can  give  absolution  wTho  has  not  received  the  faculties 

for  hearing  confessions  from  the  bishop  of  the  diocese 609 

2.  Priests   who   are   duly   authorized    to   hear   confessions,    have   not 

power  to  absolve  from  all  sins,  since  there  are  certain  sins  which 

the  Pope  or  the  bishop  has  reserved  to  himself  for  judgment 609 

3.  In  the  confessional  the  priest  stands  in  the  place  of  God;    there 

fore  the  penitent  is  bound  to  yield  him  obedience 609 

4.  Under  no  possible  conditions  may  the  priest  repeat  anything  out 

of   the    confessional 610 

6.  Every  Catholic  is  perfectly  free  to  choose  his  own  confessor 611 

Contents.  51 



By  worthily  receiving  the  Sacrament  of  Penance  we  obtain  the  fol 
lowing  graces 612 

1.  The  guilt  of  sin  is  remitted  and  the  debt  of  eternal  punishment; 

yet  there  remains  the  debt  of  temporal  punishment  to  be  dis 
charged 612 

2.  The  Holy  Spirit  returns  to  the  repentant  sinner,  and  imparts  to 

him  sanctifying  grace;  and  the  merits  of  all  the  good  works  he 
formerly  performed  while  in  a  state  of  grace  are  restored  to  him 
again 613 

3.  Through  the  indwelling  of  the  Holy  Ghost  we  obtain  great  peace 

of  mind,  nay,  great  consolations,  if  our  conversion  be  sincere 613 

4.  The  Holy  Ghost   imparts   to   us    the  strength  necessary   to   over 

come   sin 614 


In  order  to  receive  the  Sacrament  of  Penance  worthily,  we  must  do 

as  follows: 615 

1.  We  must  examine  our  conscience,  i.e.,  we  must  carefully  consider 

what  sins  we  have  committed  and  not  yet  confessed 615 

2.  We  must  truly  repent  of  our  sins,  that  is,  we  must  grieve  from  our 

heart  that  we  have  offended  God  by  them,,  and  the  thought  of 
offending  Him  must  be  abhorrent  to  us 617 

The  means  of  awakening  true  contrition  is  to  reflect  that  by  our  sins 
we  have  grievously  offended  the  infinite  majesty  of  God,  and 
have  displeased  our  loving  Father,  our  greatest  Benefactor 619 

The  consideration  that  we  must  expect  the  just  judgments  of  God  on 

account  of  our  sins,  also  disposes  us  to  true  contrition 620 

Confession  without  contrition  does  not  obtain  the  divine  forgiveness.  . 

3.  We  must   make  a  firm  resolution,  that   is,  we   must   steadfastly 

determine  with  the  help  of  God  to  desist  from  all  sin,  and  to 
avoid  the  occasions  of  sin  for  the  future • 621 

4.  We  are  under  the  obligation  of  confessing  our  sins,  that  is,   we 

must  secretly  to  the  priest  enumerate  all  the  mortal  sins  of  which 
we  are  conscious,  accurately,  simply,  and  humbly ;  with  the  num 
ber  of  times  we  have  committed  them,  besides  all  that  is  neces 
sary  to  make  known  the  nature  of  the  sin 622 

5.  Satisfaction  must  be  made:    i.e.,  we  must  perform  the  penance  en 

joined  upon  us  by  the  confessor •  •       623 

The  confessor  generally  enjoins  upon  the  penitent,  prayer,  almsdeeds, 
and  fasting  as  works  of  penance,  in  order  that  he  may  thereby 
discharge  the  temporal  penalties,  and  weaken  the  power  of  evil 

tendencies •  •       624 

We  should,  besides,  make  satisfaction  by  punishments  voluntarily 
undertaken  of  ourselves;  and  also  by  bearing  patiently  the  tem 
poral  scourges  inflicted  of  God •  ;  •  •  625 

The  works  of  penance  which  we  perform  and  the  sufferings  which 
we  bear  patiently  do  not  only  cancel  the  temporal  punishment 
due  to  our  sins,  but  they  contribute  to  the  increase  of  our 
eternal  happiness 625 


By  general  confession  is  meant  confession  of  all  the  sins  we  have  com 
mitted  within,  a  considerable  period  of  time o^5 

52  Contents. 



1.  Confession  of  sins  was  instituted  by  Our  Lord,  and  has  been  the 

practice  of  the  Church  in  all  centuries 626 

2.  The  institution  of  confession  affords  us  proof  of  the  infinite  mercy 

and  wisdom  of  God 628 


Confession  is  extremely  useful  both  to  individuals  and  to  society  in 

general 628 


1.  He  who  after  his  conversion,  relapse*  into  mortal  sin,  is  in  danger 

of  dying  impenitent,  because  the  devil  acquires  great  power  over 

him  and  the  influence  of  the  Holy  Spirit  is  lessened 630 

2.  If  any  one  should  relapse  into  mortal  sin,  let  him  forthwith  repent 

and  go  to  confession;  for  the  longer  penance  is  delayed,  the 
more  difficult,  the  more  uncertain  conversion  will  be 630 

3.  If,  through  frailty,  we  fall  into  venial  sin,  we  must  not  be  dis 

quieted  on  that  account,  but  humble  ourselves  before  God 630 

4.  Since  we  cannot  possibly  continue  in  a  state  of  grace  until  death 

without  the  special  assistance  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  let  us  fervently 
implore  of  God  the  grace  of  final  perseverance 631 


1.  God  has  granted  to  the  Church  the  power,  after  the  reconciliation 

of  the  sinner  with  God,  of  changing  the  punishments  yet  remain 
ing  due  to  sin  into  works  of  penance,  or  of  remitting  them 
altogether 632 

2.  The  remission  of  the  temporal  punishment  due  to  us  on  account 

of  our  sins  is  called  an  indulgence,  and  is  obtained  by  the  per 
formance,  while  in  a  state  of  grace,  of  certain  good  works  en 
joined  on  us  by  the  Church 634 

3.  An  indulgence  is  either  plenary,  when  a  full  and  entire  remission 

of  all  the  temporal  punishment  due  to  sin  is  gained,  or  partial, 
when  only  a  portion  of  the  temporal  punishment  is  remitted.  . .  .  636 

4.  The  Pope  alone  has  power  to  grant  indulgences  which  are  for  the 

whole  Church;  for  in  him  alone  jurisdiction  over  the  whole 
Church  is  vested,  and  he  is  the  steward  of  the  Church's  treasures  639 

5.  Indulgences  may  also  be  applied  by  way  of  suffrage  to  the  suffer 

ing  souls  in  purgatory,  if  this  be  expressly  stated  respecting  the 
indulgence;  a  plenary  indulgence  is  gained  for  them  every  time 
the  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  is  offered  on  a  privileged  altar.  . .  .  639 

6.  The  gaining  of  indulgences  is  most  salutary,  because  we  thereby 

keep  far  from  us  temporal  evils,  and  are 'stimulated  to  the  ac 
complishment  of  good  works 639 


1.  In  administering  Extreme  Unction  the  priest  anoints  the  Christian 
who  is  in  danger  of  death  with  the  holy  oils  upon  the  organs  of 
his  five  senses,  and  prays  over  him ;  by  means  of  which  the 
spiritual  and  not  infrequently  the  bodily  malady  of  the  sick  man 
is  cured..  640 

Contents.  53 

2.  Extreme    Unction    acts    spiritually    as    oil    does    materially;     it 

strengthens,  heals,  and  aids  the  soul  to  attain  eternal  salvation.  .       640 

3.  Extreme  Unction  can  only  be  administered  to  persons  who  are  in 

danger  of  death;     and  they  ought  to  receive  it  without  delay 

for  the  sake  both  of  their  physical  and  spiritual  health 642 

-  Before  being  anointed  the  sick  man  ought  to  confess  his  sins,  and 
receive  holy  communion  and  afterwards  the  Papal  blessing  is 
generally  given  to  him 642 

6.    HOLT    ORDERS. 

1.  At  the  administration  of  Holy  Orders  the  bishop  lays  "his  hands 

on  the  candidates  for  ordination,  calls  down  upon  them  the  Holy 
Ghost,  anoints  their  hands,  and  presents  the  sacred  vessels  to 
them 643 

2.  The  office  of  the  priesthood,  to  which  a  man  is  raised  by  Holy 

Orders,  is  one  of  great  dignity,,  but  likewise  one  of  no  slight 
difficulty  and  of  vast  responsibility 644 

3.  The  Sacrament  of  Holy  Orders  only  confers  the  perpetual  power, 

not  the  right,  to  exercise  the  functions  of  a  priest.  The  newly- 
ordained  cannot  therefore  make  use  in  any  place  of  their  sacer 
dotal  powers,  until  they  have  received  ecclesiastical  authorization.  646 

4.  No  one  can  be  admitted  to  priest's  Orders  who  has  not  attained 

the  age  of  twenty-four  years 647 

5.  Six   other  orders  of  ministry   precede   the  priesthood,  four   lesser 

and  two  greater 647 


1.  God  Himself  instituted  matrimony  in  the  beginning  of  the  world, 

for  the  procreation  of  the  human  race,  and  the  mutual  assist 
ance  of  husband  and  wife 649 

2.  Christian  marriage  is  a  contract  between  man  and  woman,  binding 

them  to  an  undivided  and  indissoluble  partnership,  and  confer 
ring  on  them  at  the  same  time  grace  to  fulfil  all  the  duties  re 
quired  of  them 650 

3.  Civil    marriage    is    to   be   distinguished    from   Christian    marriage, 

inasmuch  as  it  is  no  sacrament,  and  consequently  in  the  sight  of 

God  no  true  and  real  marriage  for  Catholics 650 


According  to  the  ordinance  of  Christ,  Christian  marriage  is  strictly 

a  union  of  two  persons  only,  and  it  is  indissoluble 652 


The  Sacrament  of  Matrimony  confers  upon  Christians  who  embrace 
that  state  both  an  increase  of  sanctifying  grace,  and  in  addition 
the  special  graces  necessary  to  enable  them  to  discharge  the 
duties  required  of  them 653 


A  marriage  can  only  be  concluded  in  the  absence  of  all  impediments 
to  it.  The  impediments  may  be  such  as  nullify  marriage,  or 
such  as  render  it  unlawful ....... , ........  654 

54  Contents. 


1.  Marriage  must  be  preceded  by  betrothal,  by  the  publication  of  the 

banns,  and  by  the  reception  of  the  Sacraments  of  Penance  and 

of  the  Altar.' 656 

2.  The  Church  expressly  commands  that  the  marriage  be  concluded 

in  the  presence  of  the  priest  of  the  parish,  and  two  witnesses; 
or  the  parish  priest  may  authorize  another  priest  to  act  in  his 
place  658 

3.  Marriages  are,  as  a  rule,  celebrated  in  the  forenoon,  in  the  house 

of  God,  with  solemn  ceremonies,  and  Mass  is  usually  said  at  the 
same  time 658 


It  is  the  duty  of  the  wife  to  obey  her  husband;  it  is  the  duty  of  the 

husband  to  protect  and  shield  his  wife 659 


1.  Mixed  marriages,  by  which  is  understood  the  marriage  of  Catholics 

to  non-Catholics,  have  always  been  disapproved  of  by  the  Church .       664 

2.  The  Church  tolerates  mixed  marriages  on  three  conditions 665 

3.  The  Catholic  who  contracts  a  mixed  marriage  without  the  bene 

diction   of   the   Church,   commits   a  mortal   sin,   and   cannot   be 
admitted  to  the  sacraments 666 


1.  The  unmarried  state  is  better  than  the  married,  because  those 
who  do  not  marry  have  far  more  opportunity  for  attending  to 
their  spiritual  welfare,  and  can  attain  a  higher  degree  of  glory 
hereafter 667 


The  sacramentals  are  rites  which  have  some  outward  resemblance 
to  the  sacraments  instituted  by  Christ,  but  which  are  not  of 
divine  institution.  The  name  is  applied  both  to  the  blessing  or 
consecration  given  by  the  Church,  and  to  the  objects  blessed 
or  consecrated 668 

The  blessing  consists  in  this,  that  the  minister  «of  the  Church  invokes 

the  divine  benediction  upon  certain  persons  or  things f)(>8 

1.  Consecration  by  the  Church  consists  in  this:    That  the  ecclesiastic 

empowered  for  this  purpose,  sets  apart  some  person  or  some  ob 
ject,  and  dedicates  him  or  it  to  the  exclusive  service  of  God.  . . .  669 

2.  Our  Lord  sanctioned  the  use  of  sacramentals,  but  the  rites  them 

selves  are  an  institution  of  the  Church 670 

3.  The  use  of  blessed  or  consecrated  objects  is  profitable;    for  if  used 

\vith  pious  dispositions,  they  increase  our  fear  and  love  of  God, 
remit  venial  sins,  and  preserve  us  from  many  temptations 
and  from  bodily  harm;  excepting  such  temptations  and  ills  of 
the  body  as  are  for  our  spiritual  welfare 670 

Contents.  55 



1.  Prayer  is  the  elevation  of  the  heart  to  God 671 

2.  We  may  pray  either  in  spirit  only,  or  with  the  lips  as  well 672 

3.  Our  prayers  have  a  threefold  object:    That  of  praise,  of  supplica 

tion,  and  of  thanksgiving '. 673 


1.  By  means  of  prayer  we  can  obtain  all  things  from  God:    but  He 

does  not  always  grant  our  petitions  immediately 674 

2.  By  means  of  prayer  sinners  become  just,  and  the  just  are  enabled 

to   continue   in   a  state   of  grace 676 

3.  By  prayer  we  obtain  the  remission  of  the  temporal  penalty  due 

to  sin,  and  merit  an  eternal  recompense 677 

4.  He  who  never  prays  cannot  save  his  soul;   for  without  prayer  he 

will  fall  into  grievous  sins 677 

3.  How  OUGHT  WE  TO  PRAY  ? 

If  prayer  is  to  be  of  utility  to  us,  we  must  pray: 

1.  In  the  name  of  Jesus,  that  is.,  we  must  ask  what  is  in  accordance 

with  Our  Lord's  desires 678 

2.  We  must  pray   with  devotion^  that  is  we  must  fix  our  thoughts 

on  God  when  we  pray 678 

3.  We  must  pray  with  perseverance,  that  is,  we  ought  not  to  desist 

from  prayer,  if  our  petition  is  not  immediately  granted 679 


1.  As  a  matter  of  fact  we  ought  to  pray  continually,  for  Our  Lord 

requires  of  us  "  Always  to  pray  and  not  to  faint"  (Luke  xviii.  1).      681 

2.  We   ought  to   pray   more   especially   every   morning   and   evening, 

before  and  after  meals,  and  when  we  hear  the  Angelus 682 

3.  Furthermore  we  ought  to  pray  in  the  hour  of  affliction,  distress, 

or   temptation,   when  entering   upon  an   important  undertaking, 

and  when  we  feel  an  inspiration  and  desire  to  pray 684 


1.  We  can  and  ought  to  pray  in  every  place,  because  God  is  every 

where    present 684 

2.  The  house  of  God  is  the  place  especially  set  apart  for  prayer 685 

3.  A  solitary  place  is  also  suitable  for  prayer 685 


1.  We  ought  to  implore  of  God  many  things  and  great  things;    bene 

fits  not  appertaining  to  time  so  much  as  to  eternity 685 

2.  We  ought  more  especially  to  beseech   almighty  God   to  grant  ua 

such  things. as  are  conducive  to  His  glory,  and  to  our  salvation, 
and  in  no  Arise  to  ask  for  what  will  only  serve  to  gratify  our 
earthly  desires , » 685 

56  Contents. 


Meditation  consists  in  dwelling  on  the  truths  of  religion  in  order  to 

awaken  good  resolutions  in  our  mind 686 

The  Our  Father. 

1.  The    Our   Father    takes    precedence    of    all    other    prayers;     it    is 

especially  distinguished  by  its  power,  its  simplicity,  and  its  com 
prehensiveness  687 

The    Our    Father    consists    of   an    address,    seven    petitions,    and    the 

word  Amen 688 

2.  The  address  places  the  soul  in  the  right  disposition  for  prayer; 

it  awakens  within  us  confidence  in  God  and  raises  our  thoughts 

to  Him 688 

3.  In  the  first  petition  we  pray  that  God  may  be  glorified 688 

4.  In  the  next  three  petitions  \ve  ask  for  these  blessings:     Eternal 

salvation,  grace  to  fulfil  the  divine  will,  and  the  possession  of 
those  things  which  are  indispensable  to  the  maintenance  of  our 
earthly  existence  688 

5.  In  the  next  three  petitions  we  pray  that  three  evils  may  be  averted 

from  us:  The  evil  of  sin,  the  evil  of  temptation,  and  those  evils 
which  are  prejudicial  to  life 689 

6.  The  word  Amen  is  the  answer  of  God  to  the  suppliant:     in  this 

place  it  is  equivalent  to  the  words:    Be  assured  that  thy  prayer 

is   heard 689 

The  Ave  Maria. 

1.  The  Ave  Maria  consists   of  three  parts:     The   salutation   of  the 

archangel  Gabriel,  the  greeting  of  Elizabeth,  and   the  words  of 

the  Church 690 

2.  The  Ave  Maria  is  a  most  potent  prayer,  and  one  which  is  full  of 

meaning 690 

The  Angelus. 

The  Angelus  is  a  prayer  which  is  to  be  recited  morning,  noon,  and 
night,  when  the  bell  rings,  in  honor  of  the  Mother  of  God  and 
in  adoration  of  the  mystery  of  the  Incarnation 693 

The  Rosary. 

1.  The  Rosary  is  a  prayer  in  which  the  Our  Father,  followed  by  ten 
Hail  Marys,  is  repeated  five  or  fifteen  times,  accompanied  by 
meditation  on  the  life,  the  Passion,  and  the  exaltation  of  the 
Redeemer 694 

The  Litany  of  Loretto  and  the  Salve  Reyina. 

litany  takes  its  origin  and  name  from  the  place  of  pilgrimage, 
Loretto,  in  Italy.    The  Salve  Regina  was  composed  in  1009 696 

Contents.  57 



1.  There  are  ordinary  and  extraordinary  practices  of  devotion 697 

2.  The  regular  services  held  in  the  parish  church  on  Sundays  and 

holydays  both   in   the    forenoon   and    the   afternoon,   as   well   as 
week-day  services,  belong  to  the  ordinary  practices  of  devotion.  .       697 

3.  Processions,  pilgrimages,  the  Way  of  the  Cross,  Exposition  of  the 

Blessed   Sacrament,   and    missions,    belong   to   the   extraordinary 
practices  of  devotion 697 


1.  Processions  are  a  solemn  religious  ceremony,  during  which  prayers 

are  recited  in  common  by  those  who  take  part  in  them 697 

The  ceremonial  observed  in  our  Christian  processions  is  intended  to 
.portray  the  truth  that  we  have  not  here  a  lasting  city,  but  wre 
seek  one  to  come  (Heb.  xiii.  14) 697 

2.  The  Church  holds  processions  either  for  the  purpose  of  setting  be 

fore  us  more  forcibly  certain  events  in  the  life  of  Christ, 
certain  doctrines  of  the  faith,  or  in  order  to  obtain  speedy  help 
from  God;  on  these  occasions  an  opportunity  is  afforded  us  of 
testifying  in  a  public  manner  our  faith  and  our  loyalty  to 'the 
Church 698 

3.  The  following  processions  form  part  of  the  ritual  of  the  Church 

everywhere 698 

The  procession  on  the  feast  of  the  Purification 698 

The  procession  on  Palm  Sunday 699 

The  procession  on  Holy  Saturday 699 

The  procession  on  the  feast  of  Corpus  Christi 699 

The  procession  on  St.  Mark's  Day 699 

The  procession  on  the  three  Rogation  days 700 

Christian  Burial. 

1.  Christian  burial  is  a  solemn  service  accompanied  by  special  cere 
monies  in  which  the  remains  of  a  departed  Catholic  are  carried 
in  procession  to  the  place  of  interment 700 


1.  Pilgrimages  are  journeys  made  to  sacred  places,  where  God  often 

times  vouchsafes  to  give  miraculous  assistance  to  the  suppliant.  .       703 

2.  The  places  of  pilgrimage  are  either  the  holy  places  in  Palestine, 

spots  sacred  to  the  holy  apostles,  or  shrines  of  the  blessed  Mother 

of  God 703 

3.  The  object  for  which,  as  a  rule,  Christian  people  visit  places  of 

pilgrimage  is  to  beseech  the  divine  assistance  in  seasons  of  deep 
affliction,  or  to  fulfil  a  vow 705 

The  Way  of  the  Cross. 

1.  The  Way  of  the  Cross  is  the  name  given  to  the  fourteen  stations 
which  depict  the  way  along  which  Our  Redeemer  passed,  bearing 
His  cross,  from  Pilate's  palace  to  Mount  Calvary 706 

58  Contents. 

Exposition  of  the  Most  Holy  Sacrament. 


The  solemn  exposition  of  the  Blessed  Sicrament  consists  in  placing 
the  sacred  Host  in  a  monstrance,,  unveiled,  for  the  worship  of 
the  faithful 707 

Missions  and  Retreats. 

Missions   consist  of  sermons   and   other   religious   exercises;    retreats 

have  much  the  same  effect  as  missions 708 

Catholic  Congresses  and  Passion  Plays. 

1.  Catholic  congresses  are  public  meetings  of  Catholics  for  the  pur 

pose  of  taking  counsel   together   and   passing  resolutions   suited 

to  the  times  and  to  the  present  needs  of  the  Church 709 

2.  Passion  play   is  the  name  given  to  the   portrayal   of  Our  Lord's 

Passion,  and  other  biblical  events  in  a  series  of  tableaux  vivants.       710 

Religious  Associations. 

1.  Religious  associations  are  voluntary   societies   formed   among   the 

faithful,   with   the  object  of   furthering   their   own   salvation   or 

the  salvation  of  their  fellow-men 711 

2.  Religious  associations  may  be  divided  into  confraternities  or  sodali 

ties  and  charitable  societies 711 

The  Third  Order  of  St.  Francis. 

The  Third  Order  was  founded  by  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  for  the  sake 

of    seculars  713 

The  More  Widespread  Confraternities. 

The  Society  for  the  Propagation  of  the  Faith,  of  the  Holy  Childhood, 
the  Confraternity  of  St.  Michael,  the  Confraternity  of  the  Blessed 
Sacrament,  the  Confraternity  of  the  Holy  Rosary,  the  Holy  Scapu 
lar,  the  Holy  Ghost,  etc.,  etc.,  are  the  widest  known  in  the 
Church 714 

The  Apostleship  of  Prayer. 

The  Apostleship  of  Prayer  is  a  league  of  prayers  in  union  with  the 

Sacred  Heart 718 

Charitable  Societies. 

Charitable  societies  are  the  best  embodiments  of  God's  second  precept 

of  charity 719 



1.  The  Sign  of  the  Cross. 

In  the  name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,,  and  of  the  Holy 
Ghost.  Amen. 

2.  The  Lord's  Prayer,  or  Our  Father. 

Our  Father,  Who  art  in  heaven,  hallowed  be  Thy  name.  Thy 
kingdom  come.  Thy  will  be  done  on  earth  as  it  is  in  heaven. 
Give  us  this  day  our  daily  bread.  And  forgive  us  our  trespasses 
as  we  forgive  those  who  trespass  against  us.  And  lead  us  not 
into  temptation,  but  deliver  us  from  evil.  Amen. 

3.  The  Angelical  Salutation,  or  Hail  Mary. 

Hail  Mary,  full  of  grace,  the  Lord  is  with  thee.  Blessed  art 
thou  amongst  women,  and  blessed  is  the  fruit  of  thy  womb,  Jesus. 
Holy  Mary,  Mother  of  God,  pray  for  us  sinners,  now  and  at  the 
hour  of  our  death.  Amen. 

4.  The  Apostles'   Creed. 

1  I  believe  in  God,  the  Father  almighty,  Creator  of  heaven 
and  earth  ;  2  and  in  Jesus  Christ,  His  only  Son,  Our  Lord  :  3  Who 
was  conceived  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  born  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  4  suf 
fered  under  Pontius  Pilate,  was  crucified  ;  died,  and  was  buried. 
5  He  descended  into  hell  ;  the  third  day  He  arose  again  from 
the  dead  ;  6  He  ascended  into  heaven,  sitteth  at  the  right  hand 
of  God,  the  Father  almighty  ;  7  from  thence  He  shall  come  to 
judge  the  living  and  the  dead.  [That  is  to  say,  those  who  are 
alive  at  the  Last  Day,  and  who,  as  a  matter  of  course,  must  die 


60  Devotions. 

before  the  final  judgment ;  besides  those  who  died  previously  ;  or 
it  may  also  mean  the  redeemed  and  the  reprobate.]  8  I  believe 
in  the  Holy  Ghost  ;  9  the  holy  Catholic  Church,  the  communion  of 
saints,  10  the  forgiveness  [remission]  of  sins,  11  the  resurrection 
of  the  body,  l2  and  the  life  everlasting.  Amen. 

5.  The  Two  Precepts  of  Charity.     (Marl;  xii.  30,  31.) 

(1).  Thou  shalt  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  thy  whole  heart, 
and  with  thy  whole  soul,  and  with  thy  whole  mind,  and  with  thy 
whole  strength. 

(2).  Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbor  as  thyself. 

6.  The  Ten  Commandments  of  God.     (Exod.  xx.  1-17.) 

(1).  Thou  shalt  have  no  strange  gods  before  Me.  [That  is  to 
say,  thou  shalt  believe  in  the  one  true  God  alone,  and  not  worship 
any  other.] 

(2).  Thou  shalt  not  take  the  name  of  the  Lord  thy  God  in 
vain.  [That  is,  thou  shalt  not  utter  the  name  of  God  irreverently.] 

(3).  Thou  shalt  keep  holy  the  Sabbath  day.  [Under  the  Chris 
tian  Dispensation  the  Sunda}^.] 

(4).  Thou  shalt  honor  thy  father  and  thy  mother,  that  thou 
mayst  be  long-lived  upon  the  land  which  the  Lord  thy  God  will 
give  thee. 

(5).  Thou  shalt  not  kill. 

(6).  Thou  shalt  not  commit  adultery. 

(7).  Thou  shalt  not  steal. 

(8).  Thou  shalt  not  bear  false  witness  against  thy  neighbor. 

(9).  Thou  shalt  not  covet  thy  neighbor's  wife. 

(10).  Thou  shalt  not  covet  thy  neighbor's  house,  nor  his  serv 
ant,  nor  his  ox,  nor  his  ass,  nor  anything  that  is  his. 

7.  The  Six  Precepts  of  the  Church. 
(These  are  an  amplification  of  the  Third  Commandment  of  God.) 

(1).  To  hear  Mass  on  Sundays  and  holydays  of  obligation. 

(2).  To  fast  and  abstain  on  the  days  appointed. 

(3).  To  confess  at  least  once  a  year. 

(4).  To  receive  the  Holy  Eucharist  during  the  Easter  time. 

(5).  To  contribute  to  the  support  of  our  pastors. 

(6).  Not  to  marry  persons  who  are  not  Catholics,  or  who  are 

Devotions.  61 

related  to  us  within  the  fourth  degree  of  kindred,  nor  privately 
without  witnesses,  nor  to  solemnize  marriage  at  forbidden  times. 

1.  A  Morning  Prayer. 

Thy  goodness,  0  my  God,  and  might, 
Have  brought  me  to  this  morning's  light. 
Keep  and  preserve  me  every  hour, 
From  sorrow,  sin,  temptation's  power. 
Grant  me  Thy  blessing,  Lord,  this  day, 
On  all  I  think,  or  do,  or  say. 

2.  A  Night  Prayer. 
When  to  rest  I  lay  me  down 
God's  protecting  love  I  own  ; 
Hands  and  heart  to  Him  I  raise, 
For  His  gifts  I  give  Him  praise. 
The  ill  that  I  this  day  have  done, 
Forgive  me,  Lord,  for  Thy  dear  Son. 
Thou,  Who  hast  kept  me  through  the  day, 
Watch  o'er  me  through  this  night,  I  pray. 

8.  An  Act  of  Good  Intention.     (Bl.  Clement  Hofbauer.) 
Let  my  object  ever  be 
To  give  glory,  Lord,  to  Thee  ; 
If  I  work,  or  if  I  rest, 
May  God's  holy  name  be  blest. 
Grant  me  grace  my  all  to  give 
Unto  Him  by  Whom  I  live  ; 
Jesus,  for  Thy  help  I  plead  : 
Mary,  for  me  intercede. 

4.  Grace  before  Meals. 

Bless  us,  0  Lord,  and  these  Thy  gifts,  which  we  are  about  to 
receive  from  Thy  bounty,  through  Jesus  Christ  Our  Lord.  Amen. 

5.  Grace  after  Meals. 

We  give  Thee  thanks,  0  Lord,  for  these  and  all  Thy  gifts, 
•which  of  Thy  bounty  we  have  received,  and  may  the  souls  of  the 
faithful,  through  the  mercy  of  God.  rest  in  peace.  Amen. 

62  Devotions. 

6.  Prayer  for  One's  Parents. 

0  my  God,  I  commend  my  parents  to  Thee  ;  protect  them,  and 
spare  them  long  to  me,  and  requite  them  for  all  the  good  that  they 
have  done  to  me.  , 


1.  The  Angelus.     (Morning,  noon,  and  evening.) 

V.  The  angel  of  the  Lord  declared  unto  Mary. 

E.  And  she  conceived  of  the  Holy  Ghost.    Hail  Mary,  etc. 

V.  Behold  the  handmaid  of  the  Lord  : 

R.  Be  it  done  unto  me  according  to  Thy  word.  Hail  Mary, 

V.  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh. 

R.  And  dwelt  amongst  us.     Hail  Mary,  etc. 

V.  Pray  for  us,  0  holy  Mother  of  God  ; 

R.  That  we  may  be  made  worthy  of  the  promises  of  Christ. 

Let  us  Pray. 

Pour  forth,  we  beseech  Thee,  0  Lord,  Thy  grace  into  our 
hearts  ;  that  we  to  whom  the  Incarnation  of  Christ  Thy  Son  was 
made  known  by  the  message  of  an  angel,  may,  by  His  Passion  and 
cross,  be  brought  to  the  glory  of  His  resurrection  ;  through  the 
same  Christ  Our  Lord.  Amen. 

(An  indulgence  of  one  hundred  days  may  be  gained  each  time  that  the  Angelus 
is  said  kneeling  (except  on  Saturday  evening  and  on  Sunday,  when  it  is  said 
standing),  and  a  plenary  indulgence,  once  a  month,  on  the  usual  conditions,  if 
it  has  been  said  daily  for  a  whole  month.  Those  who  are  reasonably  prevented 
from  saying  the  prayers  kneeling,  or  who  cannot  hear  the  bell,  are  still  able  to 
gain  the  indulgence  if  the  prayers  are  duly  recited.) 

2.  Prayer  in  Commemoration  of  Our  Lord's  Passion,  to  ~be  said  at 
three  o'clock  on  Fridays. 

I  bless  Thee,  0  Thou  Lord  of  heaven  ! 
Whose  life  for  sinful  man  was  given. 
Let  not  Thy  cross  and  bitter  pain 
Have  been  for  me  borne  all  in  vain. 

Devotions.  63 

3.  Prayer  for  the  Souls  in  Purgatory,  to  be  said  when  the  Church 
Bell  is  Tolled  or  after  the  Evening  Angelus. 

Thy  mercy,  Lord,  we  humbly  crave 

For  souls  whom  Thou  didst  die  to  save. 

Suffering  amidst  the  cleansing  fire, 

To  see  Thy  face  they  yet  aspire. 

Grant  them,  0  Lord,  a  swift  release, 

And  bring  them  where  all  pain  shall  cease. 

Eternal  rest  give  unto  all  the  faithful  departed,  0  Lord,  and 
let  perpetual  light  shine  upon  them.  May  they  rest  in  peace. 

4-  Prayers  to  be  Said  when  the  Bell  is  Rung  at  Mass. 

When  the  priest,  standing  at  tlie  foot  of  the  altar,  begins  the  prayers  of 
the  Mass,  make  the  sign  of  the  cross,  direct  your  intention,  and  commence 
your  prayers.  At  the  Gospel  stand  up  and  cross  yourself  on  forehead,  lips, 
and  breast. 

5.  Prayer  at  the  Offertory. 

Accept,  0  Lord,  this  sacrifice,  which,  in  union  with  the  priest, 
I  offer  to  Thy  divine  majesty,  together  with  all  I  have  and  all  I  am. 
Mercifully  pardon  my  sins,  and  grant  that  I  may  find  acceptance  in 
Thy  sight. 

6.  At  the  Consecration. 

Kneel  down,  bless  yourself,  clasp  your  hands,  and  fixing  your  eyes  upon 
the  altar,  say  : 

Flesh  of  Christ,  hail,  sweet  oblation, 
Sacrifice  for  our  salvation  ; 
On  the  cross  a  victim  slain. 
Bread  of  angels,  ever  living, 
Health  and  hope  to  mortals  giving. 

Remain  upon  your  knees,  motionless,  until  the  bell  rings  again  at  the  ele 
vation  of  the  chalice.  Then  bless  yourself  again,  and  say  : 

0  fount  of  love,  good  Jesus,  Lord, 
Cleanse  us,  unclean,  in  Thy  all-cleansing  blood  ; 
Of  which  one  single  drop  for  sinners  spilt, 
Can  free  the  entire  world  from  all  its  guilt. 

64  Devotions. 

7.  At  the  Communion. 

When  the  bell  rings,  bless  yourself,  strike  your  breast,  and  say  with  the 
priest : 

Lord,  I  am  not  worthy  that  Thou  shouldst  enter  under  my 
roof  ;  say  but  the  word,  and  my  soul  shall  be  healed. 

Bless  yourself  again  here,  and  also  when  the  priest  gives  the  blessing.  At 
the  last  Gospel  do  the  same  as  when  the  first  was  read. 

1.  The  Form  for  Confession. 

Kneeling  down  in  the  confessional,  make  the  sign  of  the  cross  when  the 
priest  gives  you  his  blessing  ;  then  say  the  first  part  of  the  Confiteor,  and 
accuse  yourself  of  the  sins  you  have  committed  since  your  last  confession,  fol 
lowing  the  order  of  the  Ten  Commandments,  the  precepts  of  the  Church,  and 
the  seven  deadly  sins.  After  having  confessed  all  that  you  can  remember, 
conclude  with  these  or  similar  words  : 

For  these  and  all  the  sins  of  my  past  life  I  am  heartily  sorry, 
because  I  have  thereby  offended  my  Father  in  heaven  and  deserved 
His  chastisements.  I  purpose  amendment  for  the  future,  and 
humbly  ask  pardon  of  God  and  absolution  and  penance  of  you, 

Listen  attentively  to  the  instructions  the  priest  gives  you,  especially  in 
regard  to  the  penance  he  sets  you.  When  he  gives  you  absolution  and  his 
blessing,  bless  yourself;  then  go  to  the  altar  to  give  thanks  to  God  for  having 
granted  you  forgiveness  of  sin,  and  perform  the  penance  enjoined  on  you. 

2.  Acts  of  the  Three  Theological  Virtues. 

(1).  An  Act  of  Faith.  I  believe  that  there  is  one  God,  and  that 
in  this  one  God  there  are  three  persons.  That  the  Son  of  God  was 
made  man  for  us,  that  He  died  upon  the  cross,  rose  again  from  the 
dead  and  ascended  into  heaven.  I  believe  that  the  Son  of  God  will 
come  again  at  the  Last  Day,  and  call  all  men  to  judgment.  I  believe 
this  because  Christ  is  the  Son  of  God  and  therefore  can  neither 
deceive  nor  be  deceived  ;  and  because  He  has  confirmed  His  teach 
ing  by  many,  miracles.  Moreover  I  believe  whatever  the  Catholic 
Church  by  Christ's  authority  proposes  to  us  to  be  believed  ;  *I 
believe  it  because  the  Catholic  Church  is  guided  and  defended 
against  error  by  the  Holy  Spirit  ;  and  because  even  down  to  the 
present  day  God  corroborates  by  miracles  the  truths  which  the 
Catholic  Church  teaches.  0  God,  increase  my  faith. 

Devotions.  65 

(2).  An  Act  of  Hope.  0  my  God,  I  hope  that  after  death  Thou  wilt 
admit  me  to  everlasting  happiness,  and  that  Thou  wilt  give  me  here 
such  means  as  are  essential  to  the  attainment  of  that  happiness. 
I  trust  that  Thou  wilt  grant  me  for  this  end  the  grace  of  the  Holy 
Spirit,  such  temporal  good  things  as  are  necessary  to  me,  pardon  of 
sin,  help  in  time  of  need,  and  a  gracious  answer  to  my  petitions. 
I  hope  this,  because  Thou,  Who  art  almighty  and  all-bountiful 
and  ever-faithful  to  Thy  promises,  hast  promised  these  things 
to  me,  and  because  Jesus  Christ,  my  Lord  and  Saviour,  has 
merited  them  for  me  by  His  cruel  death  upon  the  cross.  0  God, 
increase  my  hope. 

(3).  An  Ad  of  Charity.  My  God,  I  love  Thee  with  my  whole 
heart,  and  above  all  things,  because  Thou  art  supreme  beauty  and 
perfection,  because  Thou  art  my  greatest  benefactor  and  Thy  love 
for  me  is  infinite.  I  will,  therefore,  think  of  Thee  in  all  my 
actions  ;  I  will  avoid  even  the  slightest  sins  ;  I  will  give  thanks 
to  Thee  for  all  Thy  benefits  and  for  all  Thou  givest  me  to  suffer, 
and  I  will  love  my  neighbor  because  he  is  Thy  child  and  made 
after  Thy  image.  0  God,  increase  my  charity. 

(As  often  as  acts  of  the  three  theological  virtues  are  made,  either  by  the  use 
of  this  formula,  or  in  the  words  our  own  devotion  may  suggest,  an  indulgence 
of  seven  years  and  seven  quarantines  may  be  gained  ;  and  for  daily  repetition 
of  these  acts  a  plenary  indulgence  once  a  month  is  granted,  on  the  usual  condi 
tions.  Also  a  plenary  indulgence  at  the  hour  of  death.) 

3.  An  Act  of  Contrition. 

0  God  of  infinite  majesty,  I,  a  sinner,  have  offended  against 
Thee.   Thou  art  my  heavenly  Father;  Thou  hast  given  Thy  Son  for 
me,  and  hast  lavished  innumerable  benefits  upon  me,  and  yet  I 
have  grieved  Thee.    Thou  art  a  just  God  ;  I  know  that  Thou  dost 
leave  no  sin  unpunished,  and  yet  I  was  so  ungrateful  as  to  offend 
Thee.     I  am  exceedingly  sorry  for  having  sinned  ;  I  will  hence 
forth  avoid  sin  and  keep  Thy  commandments.     Grant  me  Thy 
pardon,  and  receive  me  again  as  Thy  child. 

4.  Renewal  of  Baptismal  Vows. 

1  thank  Thee,  0  my  God,  for  having  made  me  Thy  child  by 
holy  Baptism.    I  desire  this  day  to  renew  the  covenant  then  made 
with  Thee  :  I  promise  to  renounce  all  the  sinful  pleasures  of  the 
world,  to  believe  and  to  follow  the  teaching  of  the  Gospel.    I  hope 
for  Thy  grace  to  enable  me  to  do  this,  and  after  Id'eath  to  enter 
into  eternal  felicity. 



1.     Prayer  to  the  Holy  Ghost. 

To  Thee,  0  Holy  Ghost,  we  cry      Strengthen  the  weakness  of  our 
Thou  highest  gift  of  God  most          will, 

high  : 

Help  us  our  duty  to  fulfil ; 

Enlighten  us  with  light  divine,      Give    solace    to    the    troubled 

Keep    far    from    us    the     foe 

And  after  death,  eternal  rest. 

2.  Hymn  to  the  Holy  Ghost. 

Come,  0  Creator,  Spirit  blest  !        Kindle  our  senses  from  above, 
And  in  our  souls  take  up  Thy 

rest ; 
Come,    with     Thy    grace    and 

heavenly  aid, 

And  make  our  hearts  o'erflow 

with  love  ; 
With  patience  firm  and  virtue 


To  fill   the   hearts   that   Thou      The  weakness  of  our  flesh  sup- 


Far  from  us  drive  the  foe  we 

hast  made. 

Great    Paraclete  !   to    Thee   we 

0    highest    gift    of    God   most      And  grant  us  Thy  true  peace 


0  fount  of  life,  0  fire  of  love, 
And     sweet     anointing     from 

above  ! 

Thou  in  Thy  sevenfold  gifts  art 
known  ; 

instead  ; 
So  shall  we  not,  with  Thee  for 

Turn  from  the  path  of  life  aside. 

Oh,    may    Thy    grace    on    us 

The  finger  of  God's  hand   we      The    Father    and    the    Son   to 



The  promise  of  the  Father  Thou,      And  Thee  through  endless  time 
Who     dost     the    tongue    with          confest, 

power  endow. 

Of  both  the  eternal  Spirit  blest. 

All  glory  while  the  ages  run 
Be  to  the  Father  and  the  Son 
Who  rose  from  death  ;  the  same  to  Thee, 
0  Holy  Ghost,  eternally.    Amen. 

(An  indulgence  of  three  hundred  days  may  be  gained  each  time  this  hymn 
is  said,  and  a  plenary  indulgence  once  a  month. — Pius  VI.,  1796.) 

Devotions.  67 


1.  The  Salve  Regina. 

Hail,  holy  Queen,  Mother  of  mercy,  our  life,  our  sweetness  amd 
our  hope  !  To  thee  do  we  cry,  poor  banished  children  of  Eve,  to 
thee  do  we  send  up  our  sighs,  mourning  and  weeping  in  this  valley 
of  tears.  Turn  then,  most  gracious  advocate,  thine  eyes  of  mercy 
towards  us,  and  after  this,  our  exile,  show  unto  us  the  blessed  fruit 
of  thy  womb,  Jesus.  0  clement,  0  loving,  0  sweet  Virgin  Mary  ! 

V.     Pray  for  us,  0  Holy  Mother  of  God. 

R.     That  we  may  be  made  worthy  of  the  promises  of  Christ. 

V.     Make  me  worthy  to  praise  thee,  holy  Virgin. 

R.     Give  me  strength  against  thine  enemies. 

V.     Blessed  be  God  in  His  saints. 

R.     Amen. 

We  fly  to  thy  protection,  0  holy  Mother  of  God  !  Despise  not 
our  petitions  in  our  necessities,  and  deliver  us  from  all  dangers, 

0  ever  glorious  and  blessed  Virgin.     Keconcile  us  with  thy  Son, 
commend  us  to  thy  Son,  present  us  to  thy  Son  ! 

2.  The  Memorare. 

Eemember,  0  most  gracious  Virgin  Mary,  that  never  was  it 
known  that  any  one  who  fled  to  thy  protection,  implored  thy  help 
and  sought  thy  intercession,  was  left  unaided.  Inspired  with  this 
confidence,  I  fly  unto  thee,  0  Virgin  of  virgins,  my  Mother;  to  thee 

1  come  ;   before  thee  I  stand,  sinful  and  sorrowful.     0  Mother  of 
the  Word  Incarnate,  despise  not  my  petitions,  but  in  thy  mercy 
hear  and  answer  me.    Amen. 

(An  indulgence  of  three  hundred  days  may  be  gained  each  time  the  Memo- 
rare  is  said  ;  and  a  plenary  once  a  month,  on  the  usual  conditions,  by  those 
who  repeat  it  daily.) 

3.  The  Holy  Rosary. 

The  Creed  is  repeated  first,  then  one  Our  Father  and  three 
Hail  Marys,  followed  by  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc.  Fifteen 
decades  are  then  said,  each  decade  consisting  of  one  Our  Father 
and  ten  Hail  Marys,  and  ending  with  a  Glory  be  to  the  Father. 

The  Mysteries  of  the  Eosary  are  : 

The  five  Joyful  Mysteries,  which  may  be  said  chiefly  from 
Advent  to  Lent,  or  on  Mondays  and  Thursdays. 

68  Devotions. 

(1),  The  Annunciation,  (2),  The  Visitation,  (3),  The  Nativity 
of  Our  Lord,  (4),  The  Presentation  of  Our  Lord  in  the  Temple,  (5), 
The  Finding  of  the  Child  Jesus  in  Jerusalem. 

The  five  Sorrowful  Mysteries,  which  may  be  said  chiefly  during 
Lent,  or  on  Tuesdays  and  Fridays. 

(1),  The  Prayer  and  Agony  of  Our  Lord  in  the  Garden,  (2),  The 
Scourging,  (3),  The  Crowning  with  Thorns,  (4),  The  Carrying  of 
the  Cross,  (5),  The  Crucifixion. 

The  five  Glorious  Mysteries,  which  may  be  used  chiefly  from 
Easter  until  Advent,  or  on  Wednesdays,  Saturdays,  and  Sundays. 

(1),  The  Resurrection-  of  Our  Lord,  (2),  The  Ascension,  (3), 
The  Descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost  on  the  Apostles,  (4),  The  Assump 
tion  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  into  Heaven,  (5),  The  Coronation  of 
the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary. 

Thus  each  chaplet  of  the  Eosary  consists  of  the  Creed,  six  Our 
Fathers,  six  Glorys  and  fifty-three  Hail  Marys. 

The  beads  must  be  blessed  and  the  indulgences  attached  by  a 
priest  who  has  the  powers.  If  this  be  duly  done  the  faithful  can 
gain  an  indulgence  of  one  hundred  days  for  every  Creed,  Our 
Father,  and  Hail  Mary,  each  time  the  Rosary  is  recited. 

4.  Prayer  to  St.  Joseph. 

Glorious  Joseph,  kind  father  and  friend, 
Humbly  to  thee  myself  I  commend  ; 
Keep  me,  watch  over  me,  help  and  defend. 
By  virtue's  path  lead  io-  the  heavenly  land, 
And  in  my  last  hour  be  thou  near  at  hand. 

5.  Prayer  to  Our  Guardian  Angel. 

Holy  angel,  guardian  mine, 
Given  me  by  love  divine  ; 
Day  and  night  watch  over  me, 
From  harm,  from  sin,  let  me  be  free. 
By  a  pious  life  I  fain 
Would  eternal  joys  attain. 



We  are  on  earth  for  the  purpose  of  giving  glory  to  God,  and 
thereby  working  out  our  eternal  salvation.  We  are  to  attain  our 
end  by  the  following  means. 

We  must  strive  to  acquire  the  knowledge  of  God  through  faith 
in  the  truths  which  He  has  revealed. 

Here  we  speak  of  the  knowledge  of  God,  of  revelation,  of 
faith,  the  motives  of  faith,  the  opposite  of  faith,  the  confession 
of  faith;  and  finally  of  the  sign  of  the  cross. 

An  explanation  is  given  of  the  twelve  articles  of  the  Apos 
tles'  Creed. 

Art.  1.  The  existence  of  God,  His  being,  His  attributes,  His 
triune  nature,  the  creation  of  the  world  and  divine  providence, 
angels  and  men,  original  sin;  the  promise  of  a  Redeemer,  the 
expectation  of  a  Redeemer. 

Art.  2-7.  Jesus  is  the  Messias,  the  Son  of  God;  Himself 
God  and  Our  Lord.  The  Incarnation,  the  life  of  Christ. 

Art.  8.    The  Holy  Ghost  and  the  doctrine  of  grace. 

Art.  9.  The  Catholic  Church,  its  institution,  development, 
and  divine  maintenance.  The  supreme  Head  of  the  Church,  the 
hierarchy,  the  notes  of  the  Church.  In  the  Church  alone  is 
salvation.  Church  and  State.  The  communion  of  saints. 

Art.  10.    Forgiveness  of  sins. 

Art.  11-12.  Death,  the  particular  judgment,  heaven,  hell, 
purgatory,  the  resurrection  of  the  dead,  the  final  judgment. 

At  the  close  of  the  Apostles'  Creed  mention  is  made  of  the 
good  things  which  we  hope  for  from  God.  The  nature  of  Chris 
tian  hope  is  considered,  its  advantages  and  what  is  opposed  to  it. 

70  General  Survey. 


We  must  keep  the  commandments  of  God.  These  are:  The 
two  precepts  of  charity. 

The  precept  of  charity  towards  God,  which  is  set  forth  more 
fully  in  the  first  four  commandments  of  the  Decalogue. 

In  His  character  of  sovereign  King  God  requires  from  us: 
In  the  First  Commandment  worship  and  fidelity;  in  the  Second, 
reverence;  in  the  Third,  service;  in  the  Fourth,  respect  towards 
His  representatives. 

The  precept  of  charity  towards  one's  neighbor.  By  this  we 
are  forbidden  to  injure  our  neighbor.  In  the  Fifth  Oommand- 
ment  we  are  forbidden  to  injure  his  life;  in  th*e  Sixth,  his 
innocence;  in  the  Seventh,  his  property;  in  the  Eighth,  his 
reputation;  in  the  Mnth  and  Tenth,  his  household. 

We  are  also  commanded  to  help  him  in  time  of  need  by  the 
performance  of  the  works  of  mercy. 

The  commandments  of  the  Church  are  an  amplification  of 
the  Third  Commandment  of  the  Decalogue. 

After  the  consideration  of  the  love  of  God,  the  love  of  the 
world  is  spoken  of. 

After  the  consideration  of  the  love  of  one's  neighbor,  the  love 
of  one's  friends,  of  one's  enemies,  of  one's  self  is  enlarged  upon; 
after  the  consideration  of  the  First  Commandment,  the  venera 
tion  of  the  saints,  the  oath  born  of  religion  and  otherwise ;  under 
the  Third  Commandment  of  God,  the  obligation  of  labor; 
under  the  first  commandment  of  the  Church,  the  ecclesiastical 
year;  under  the  Fourth  Commandment  of  God,  the  Christian's 
duty  towards  the  Pope  and  chief  ruler,  and  the  obligations  rest 
ing  on  those  who  are  in  authority;  under  the  Fifth  Command 
ment  of  God,  the  treatment  of  animals;  and  under  the  works 
of  mercy,  the  right  use  of  money,  the  duty  of  gratitude,  and  the 
spirit  of  poverty. 

The  fulfilling  of  the  commandments  consists  in  the  practice 
of  good  works  and  the  exercise  of  virtue,  as  well  as  the  abandon 
ment  of  sin  and  vice;  finally,  in  the  avoidance  of  everything 
that  might  lead  to  sin,  ^emptation  to  sin,  and  occasions  of  sin. 


General  Survey.  71 

The  most  important  virtues  are  those  which  are  called  the 
seven  capital  virtues,  the  opposites  to  which  are  the  seven  deadly 

In  order  to  obey  the  commandments  strictly  we  must  make 
use  of  the  means  for  attaining  perfection.  The  general  means 
are  intended  for  all;  the  special  means,  the  three  evangelical 
counsels,  are  only  for  individuals. 

By  walking  in  this  way  we  shall  enjoy  happiness  even  on 

The  precepts  which  Christ  gave  us  in  the  Sermon  on  the 
Mount,  and  which  are  called  the  eight  beatitudes. 

In  order  to  believe  revealed  truth  and  to  keep  the  command 
ments,  we  require  the  assistance  of  divine  grace,  and  this  we 
can  obtain  by  the  use  of  the  means  of  grace. 


We  must  make  use  of  the  means  of  grace.  These  are:  The 
holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass,  the  sacraments,  and  prayer. 

Before  entering  upon  the  subject  of  the  sacrifice  of  the  Mass, 
sacrifice  in  general  and  the  sacrifice  of  the  cross  are  considered. 
In  treating  of  the  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass  the  points  ex 
plained  are :  The  institution,  the  nature,  the  parts,  and  the  cere 
monies  of  the  Mass;  the  relation  of  the  Mass  to  the  sacrifice 
of  the  cross,  the  benefits  derived  from  the  Mass,  the  manner  of 
offering  it,  devotions  during  Mass,  the  obligation  of  hearing 
Mass,  the  time  and  place  of  celebrating  Mass,  the  vestments 
and  vessels  used  at  Mass,  the  color  of  the  vestments,  the  language 
used  in  the  Mass,  and  the  musical  accompaniment  of  the  Mass. 
The  duty  of  hearing  the  word  of  God  next  follows;  then  the 
doctrine  of  the  sacraments  in  general  and  of  each  individually. 
Tinder  the  Sacrament  of  the  Altar  the  institution  and  nature  of 
the  sacrament  are  considered,  likewise  the  reception  of  the  sacra 
ments  and  the  fruits  produced  thereby,  the  preparation  before 
receiving  communion  and  the  subsequent  thanksgiving,  and  also 
spiritual  communion.  Under  the  Sacrament  of  Penance  the 
points  considered  are:  The  institution,  nature,  and  necessity  of 

72  General  Survey. 

penance;  the  office  of  the  confessor,  the  effects  of  the  Sacrament 
of  Penance.  The  worthy  reception  of  the  sacrament  (in  its 
five  parts),  general  confessions,  the  institution  and  excellence 
of  confession,  the  sin  of  relapse,  and  the  doctrine  of  indulgences. 
Under  matrimony,  the  institution  and  nature  of  marriage  are 
treated  of,  the  duties  of  married  people,  mixed  marriages,  and 
the  single  state.  Hereupon  follows  the  teaching  concerning 

In  treating  of  prayer  an  explanation  is  given  of  the  nature, 
the  use,  the  necessity,  the  time,  the  place,  the  object  of  prayer 
and  of  contemplation.  Furthermore  explanations  are  given  of 
the  most  important  prayers  (the  Lord's  Prayer  and  prayer  to 
the  Mother  of  God);  the  principal  public  services  morning  and 
evening,  processions,  pilgrimages,  the  Way  of  the  Cross,  Ex 
position  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament,  missions,  Catholic  congresses, 
Passion  plays,  and  religious  associations.  The  latter  include 
third  orders,  confraternities,  and  charitable  societies. 


I.    .F0£  F^ff^T  J^D  ^JRJ^  F#  0^  THIS  EARTH? 

As  the  scholar  goes  to  school  in  order  that  he  may  afterwards 
attain  a  certain  position  in  li'fe,  so  man  is  placed  on  this  earth  in 
order  that  he  may  attain  to  the  lofty  end  of  eternal  happiness.  As  the 
servant  serves  his  master  and  so  earns  his  bread,  so  man  has  to  serve 
God,  and  through  his  service  attains  happiness  to  some  extent  in 
this  life,  and  in  its  fulness  after  death. 

We  are  upon  this  earth  in  order  that  we  may  glorify  God, 
and  so  win  for  ourselves  eternal  happiness. 

The  glory  of  God  is  the  end  of  all  creation.  All  creatures  on 
the  earth  are  created  for  this  end,  that  they  may  manifest  in 
themselves  the  divine  perfections  and  God's  dominion  over  His 
rational  creatures,  that  is,  over  angels  and  men,  and  that  He  may  be 
loved  and  praised  by  them.  Even  the  material  world,  and  creatures 
not  possessed  of  reason — animals,  trees,  plants,  stones,  metals,  etc., 
all  praise  God  after  their  own  fashion.  "  The  Lord  has  made  all 
things  for  Himself"  (Prov.  xvi.  4).  Man  is  created  for  this  end, 
that  he  should  proclaim  the  majesty  of  God.  He  must  do  so  whether 
he  wills  it  or  not.  The  construction  of  the  body  of  man,  the  lofty 
powers  of  his  soul,  the  rewards  of  the  good,  the  punishment  of  the 
wicked,  all  proclaim  the  majesty  of  God,  His  omnipotence,  wisdom, 
goodness,  justice,  etc.  Even  the  reprobate  will  have  to  contribute 
to  the  glory  of  God  (Prov.  xvi.  4).  In  the  end  he  will  show  how 
great  is  the  holiness  and  justice  of  God.  Man,  from  being  possessed 
of  reason  and  free  will,  is  through  these  enabled  in  an  especial  way  to 
give  glory  to  God.  This  he  does  when  he  knows,  loves,  and  honors 
God.  Man  is  created  chiefly  for  the  life  beyond  the  grave.  In  this 
life  he  is  a  stranger,  a  wanderer,  and  a  pilgrim.  "  We  have  not  here 
a  lasting  city,  but  we  seek  one  that  is  to  come "  (Heb.  xiii.  14) . 
Heaven  is  our  true  country;  here  we  are  in  exile. 

Hence  we  are  not  upon  earth  only  to  collect  earthly  treas 
ures,  to  attain  earthly  honors,  to  eat  and  to  drink,  or  to  enjoy 
earthly  pleasures. 

He  who  pursues  ends  like  these  behaves  as  foolishly  as  a  servant 
who,  instead  of  serving  his  master,  devotes  himself  to  some  passing 
amusement.  He  stands  idle  in  the  market-place,  instead  of  working 
in  his  master's  vineyard.  He  is  like  a  traveller  who,  attracted  by  the 
beauty  of  the  scenery,  does  not  pursue  his  journey,  and  so  allows  the 


74  Introduction. 

night  to  overtake  him.  We  are  not  made  for  earth;  we  are  made  to 
look  upward  to  heaven.  The  trees,  the  plants  point  upward  to 
heaven,  as  if  to  remind  us  that  it  is  our  home. 

For  this  reason  Our  Lord  says :  "  One  thing  is  necessary  " 
(Luke  x.  42),  and  again  "  Seek  first  the  kingdom  of  God  and 
His  justice,  and  all  other  things  shall  be  added  unto  you  "  (Matt, 
vi.  33.) 

Unhappily,  too  many  forget  their  last  end,  and  fix  their  hearts  on 
money,  influence,  honor,  etc.  They  are  like  the  kings  of  that  heathen 
country  who,  althpugh  they  reigned  but  for  a  year  and  after  that  had 
to  go  and  live  on  a  barren  island,  spent  all  their  time  in  luxury  and 
feasting,  and  did  not  lay  up  any  provision  for  the  future  on  the 
island  whither  they  were  bound.  He  who  does  not  think  on  his  last 
end  is  not  a  pilgrim,  but  a  tramp,  and  falls  into  the  hands  of  the 
devil  as  a  tramp  into  the  hands  of  the  police.  He  is  like  a  sailor 
who  knows  not  whither  he  is  sailing,  and  so  wrecks  his  ship.  Our 
Lord  compares  such  to  the  servant  who  sleeps,  instead  of  watching 
for  his  master's  coming  (Matt.  xxiv.  42). 


Eternal  happiness  consists  in  union  with  God,  through  the  exer 
cise  of  the  intellect  contemplating  God  and  the  will  loving  Him. 
If  we  wish  to  attain  it,  we  must  begin  to  draw  near  to  it  in  this  life. 
We  must  seek  to  know  and  love  God.  But  love  of  God  consists  in 
keeping  His  commandments  (John  xiv.  23).  From  this  it  follows 

We  shall  attain  to  eternal  happiness  by  the  following  means: 

1.  We  must  strive  to  know  God  by  means  of  faith  in  the 
truths  He  has  revealed  to  us. 

Our  Lord  says :  "  This  is  eternal  life,  that  they  may  know  Thee, 
the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ,  Whom  Thou  hast  sent "  (John 
xvii.  3).  That  is  to  say,  the  knowledge  of  God  brings  man  to  eternal 

2.  We  must  fulfil  the  will  of  God  by  keeping  His  command 

Our  Lord  says  to  the  rich  young  man :  "  If  thou  wilt  enter  into 
life,  keep  the  commandments  "  (Matt.  xix.  17). 

By  means  of  our  own  strength  we  can  neither  believe  nor 
keep  the  commandments;  for  this  we  need  the  grace  of  God. 

Even  Adam  and  Eve  in  a  state  of  innocence  needed  the  help  of 
grace.  He  who  travels  to  a  distant  country,  besides  his  own  exer 
tions  needs  money  for  the  journey.  The  farmer  cannot  cultivate  his 
land  without  the  aid  of  sunshine  and  of  rain.  Man,  too,  has  a  special 
weakness  by  reason  of  original  sin.  This  makes  grace  the  more  indis 
pensable.  The  blind  man  needs  a  guide,  the  sick  man  strengthening 
food.  We  are  like  a  man  who  through  weakness  has  fallen  to  the 

Introduction.  75 

ground,  and  has  no  power,  of  himself,  to  rise.  He  must  look  around 
for  one  to  aid  him.  So  Our  Lord  tells  us :  "  Without  Me  you  can  do 
nothing"  (John  xy.  5).  As  the  sun  is  necessary  to  tjje  earth,  to  en 
lighten  and  warm  it,  so  is  grace  necessary  to  our  soul. 

We  obtain  the  grace  of  God  through  the  means  of  grace  in 
stituted  by  Jesus  Christ. 

3.  We  must  therefore  avail  ourselves  of  the  means  of  grace;  of 
which  the  chief  are  holy  Mass,  the  sacraments,  and  prayer. 

The  means  of  srrace  are  a  channel  through  which  grace  is  conveyed 
to  our  soul.  Faith  is  the  road  which  leads  to  heaven,  the  command 
ments  are  like  sign-posts  by  the  way,  the  means  of  grace  the  money 
for  the  journey.  "  The  way  that  leads  to  life  is  narrow  and  thorny; 
the  way  that  leads  to  destruction  is  broad,  and  many  are  they  who  go 
in  thereat"  (Matt.  vii.  13). 

It  is  also  true  that  he  who  desires  happiness  must  have  re 

Religion  consists  in  a  knowledge  of  God  and  a  life  corresponding 
to  the  will  of  God.  Religion  is  not  a  matter  of  feeling ;  it  is  a  matter 
of  the  will  and  of  action,  and  consists  in  following  out  the  principles 
that  God  has  laid  down.  Mere  knowledge  does  not  constitute  relig 
ion,  else  the  devil  would  have  religion;  the  service  of  God  is  neces 
sarily  included  in  it.  We  do  not  call  a  man  a  baseball  player  or 
cricketer  because  he  knows  the  rules  and  nature  of  the  game ;  practice 
is  also  required. 

It  is  also  true  that  he  who  desires  to  be  happy  must  strive 
to  be  like  to  God. 

Man  becomes  like  to  God  when  all  his  thought  and  action  resemble 
the  divine  thought  and  action.  The  commandments  of  God  are  a 
mirror,  in  which  we  recognize  whether  our  actions  are  like  or  unlike 
those  of  God. 


1.  Earthly  goods,  such  as  riches,  honor,  pleasure,  cannot  by 
themselves  make  us  happy,  for  they  cannot  satisfy  our  soul;  they 
often  only  make  life  bitter,  and  invariably  forsake  us  in  death. 

Earthly  goods  deceive  us ;  they  are  like  soap-bubbles,  which  reflect 
all  the  colors  of  the  rainbow  but  are  really  only  drops  of  water. 
Earthly  joys  are  like  artificial  fruit,  beautiful  to  behold,  but  disap 
pointing  to  the  taste.  Earthly  pleasures  are  like  drops  of  water; 
they  do  not  quench  the  fire  of  the  passions,  but  only  make  it  burn 
more  fiercely.  Man  can  no  more  be  happy  without  God  than  a  fish 
can  live  out  of  the  water.  Hence  St.  Augustine  says:  "  Unquiet _ is 
the  heart  of  man  until  it  rests  in  God."  No  sensible  or  material 
goods  will  nourish  or  satisfy  the  soul.  Hence  Our  Lord  says  to  ^the 
Samaritan  woman ;  "  He  who  drinks  of  this  water  will  thirst  again." 

76  Introduction, 

Riches  will  no  more  satisfy  the  soul  than  salt  water  will  quench 
thirst.  In  the  days  of  the  early  empire  of  Rome,  when  riches  and 
sensual  pleasures  abounded,  suicide  was  most  widely  prevalent. 
Earthly  possessions  are  a  continual  source  of  anxiety;  he  who  rests 
in  them  is  tormented  by  them,  like  a  man  who  reposes  on  thorns. 
As  the  fresh  waters  of  the  rivers  are  changed  into  the  salt  waters  of 
the  sea,  so  all  earthly  pleasures  sooner  or  later  turn  to  bitterness. 
Forbidden  pleasures  soon  bring  misery  after  them,  like  the  forbidden 
fruit.  They  are  like  bait  that  has  a  hook  concealed  within  it. 
Earthly  goods  all  forsake  us  when  we  die :  "  We  brought  nothing  into 
the  world,  and  certainly  we  cannot  carry  anything  out  of  it "  (1  Tim. 
vi.  7).  When  the  Pope  is  crowned,  a  handful  of  tow  is  kindled,  and 
while  it  blazes  up  the  choir  sing :  "  Thus  passes  the  glory  of  the 
world."  As  the  spider  spins  a  web  out  of  its  own  bowels  and  in  a 
moment  the  broom  sweeps  it  all  away,  so  man  labors  for  long  years  to 
obtain  some  honor,  or  possession,  or  office.  Some  obstacle  comes  in 
the  way,  death  or  sickness  visits  him,  and  all  the  labor  is  gone  for 
naught.  As  the  glow-worm  shines  in  the  night,  but  in  the  light  of 
day  is  but  an  ugly  insect,  so  the  delights  of  earth  are  brilliant  during 
the  night  of  life  on  earth,  but  under  the  light  of  the  Day  of  Judg 
ment  will  show  themselves  vain  and  worthless. 

Earthly  goods  are  given  to  us  only  that  through  them  we 
may  attain  to  eternal  happiness. 

Every  creature  on  earth  is  intended  as  a  step  to  bring  us 
nearer  to  God.  As  in  the  workshop  of  the  painter,  brushes,  colors, 
oils,  are  all  destined  to  serve  to  the  completion  of  the  picture, 
so  all  things  in  the  world  are  intended  to  contribute  to  our 
eternal  happiness  in  heaven.  Not  to  use  earthly  things  for  this 
end  is  to  lose  the  hope  of  eternal  happiness;  but  to  make  them 
our  end  and  to  be  dependent  on  them  no  less  deprives  us  of  the 
end  for  which  we  were  created.  Earthly  goods  are  like  the  sur 
geon's  instruments;  if  they  are  ill-employed,  they  kill  instead 
of  curing.  We  must  therefore  use  them  only  in  so  far  as  they 
help  us  towards  the  attainment  of  our  last  end.  When  they  hinder 
us  we  must  cut  ourselves  free  from  them.  We  must  not  serve  them, 
they  must  serve  us. 

2.  Only  the  Gospel  of  Christ  is  capable  of  giving  us  a  partial 
happiness  on  earth,  for  he  who  follows  the  teaching  of  Christ  is 
certain  to  have  peace  in  his  soul. 

This  is  why  Christ  says  to  the  Samaritan  woman :  "  He  that  shall 
drink  of  the  water  that  I  shall  give  him,  shall  not  thirst  forever  " 
(John  iv.  13).  And  again:  "He  that  cometh  to  Me,  shall  never 
ljunger "  (John  vi.  35).  The  teaching  of  Christ  can  alone  satisfy 
the  heart  of  man.  The  reason  of  this  is,  that  earthly  sufferings  do 
not  render  unhappy  the  man  who  follows  Christ. 

3.  He  who  follows  Christ  will  have  to  endure  persecution;  but 
these  persecutions  can  do  him  no  harm. 

St.  Paul  tells  us  that  "  All  who  will  live  godly  in  Christ 
Jesus,  shall  suffer  persecution  "  (2  Tim.  iii.  12). 

Introduction.  77 

The  whole  life  of  the  Christian  is  a  carrying  of  the  cross  and  a 
suffering  of  persecution.  Christ  Himself  says :  "  The  servant  is  not 
above  his  master"  (Matt.  x.  24).  That  is,  the  servant  of  Christ  has 
no  claim  to  a  better  lot  than  his  Master  Christ.  We  must  expect  the 
men  of  the  world  (that  is,  those  who  seek  their  happiness  in  this 
life)  to  regard  us  as  erratic  people  and  as  fools,  to  condemn  us  and  to 
hate  us  (1  Cor.  iv.  3,  10;  John  xvii.  14;  xv.  20).  To  be  loved  and 
praised  by  the  world  is  to  be  the  enemy  of  Christ.  The  principles  of 
the  world  are  in  contradiction  with  those  of  Christ,  and  the  world  re 
gards  as  a  fool  him  whom  Christ  declares  blessed  (Matt.  v.  3,  10). 

Yet  Christ  tells  us:  "  Every  one  that  heareth  My  words  and 
doeth  them,  shall  be  likened  to  a  wise  man,  that  built  his  house 
upon  a  rock  "  (Matt.  vii.  24). 

He  who  trusts  in  God  builds  on  solid  ground.  The  patriarch 
Joseph  derived  advantage,  not  harm,  from  being  persecuted ;  the  pious 
David  was  persecuted,  first  by  Saul,  and  then  by  his  own  son  Absalom. 
From  his  own  experience  he  was  able  to  say :  "  Many  are  the  afflic 
tions  of  the  just ;  but  out  of  them  all  the  Lord  will  deliver  them  "  (Ps. 
xxxiii.  20).  All  the  saints  of  Christ  have  been  persecuted,  but  God 
has  turned  to  good  the  evil  that  their  enemies  thought  to  do  them. 
"  If  God  is  with  us,  who  can  be  against  us  ?  " 

4.  Hence  perfect  happiness  is  impossible  on  earth;  for  no  man 
can  entirely  avoid  suffering. 

The  end  of  the  worldling  is  misery  as  we  have  seen,  and  the  just 
man  is  persecuted.  No  one  can  escape  sickness,  suffering,  death.  The 
world  is  a  valley  of  tears ;  it  is  a  big  hospital,  containing  as  many  sick 
men  as  there  are  human  beings.  The  world  is  a  place  of  banishment, 
where  we  are  far  from  our  true  country.  In  the  world  good  and  ill 
fortune  succeed  each  other  like  sunshine  and  storm.  Prosperity  is 
the  sure  forerunner  of  adversity.  In  life  we  are  on  a  sea,  now  lifted 
up  to  heaven,  now  cast  down  to  hell.  Society  is  always  sure  to  be  full 
of  all  kinds  of  miseries,  whatever  efforts  may  be  made  to  improve  the 
condition  of  mankind.  Vain  indeed  are  the  hopes  of  the  modern 
school  of  social  democrats  who  dream  of  gradually  abolishing  all  evil 
and  misery  from  the  world. 



The  knowledge  of  God  consists  in  the  knowledge  of  His  perfec 
tions,  His  works,  His  will,  and  the  means  of  grace  instituted  by  Him. 
St.  Paul  bids  us  "  increase  in  the  knowledge  of  God  "  (Col.  i.  10). 
Now  we  only  know  God  through  a  glass  in  a  dark  manner;  only  in 
heaven  shall  we  see  Him  face  to  face,  and  have  a  clear  knowledge  of 
His  perfections  (1  Cor.  xiii.  12). 

1.  The  happiness  of  the  angels  and  the  saints  consists  in  the 
knowledge  of  God. 

Our  Lord  tells  us  that  "  this  is  eternal  life,  that  they  may  know 
Thee,  the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ  Whom  Thou  hast  sent " 
(John  xvii.  3).  This  is  the  food  of  which  the  archangel  Raphael 
spoke,  when  he  said  to  Tobias :  "  I  use  an  invisible  meat  and  drink, 
which  cannot  be  seen  by  men"  (Tob.  xii.  19).  In  heaven  the  saints 
and  angels  have  an  immediate  knowledge  of  God  in  the  beatific 
vision.  We  on  earth  only  know  God  through  the  medium  of  His 
works  and  of  what  He  has  revealed  to  us.  Our  knowledge,  compared 
with  that  of  the  saints  and  angels,  is  like  the  knowledge  of  a  country 
that  one  gets  from  maps  and  pictures  as  compared  with  the  knowl 
edge  of  one  who  has  himself  visited  it. 

2.  The  knowledge  of  God  is  all-important,  for  without  it  there 
cannot  be  any  happiness  on  earth,  or  a  well-ordered  life. 

The  knowledge  of  God  is  the  food  of  our  soul.  Without  it  the 
soul  feels  hungry;  we  become  discontented.  He  who  does  not  possess 
interior  peace,  cannot  enjoy  riches,  health,  or  any  of  the  goods  of  this 
life ;  they  all  become  distasteful  to  him.  Yet  few  think  about  this  food 
of  the  soul ;  they  busy  themselves,  as  Our  Lord  says,  with  the  "  meat 
that  perishes"  (John  vi.  27).  Without  the  knowledge  of  God  a  man 
is  like  one  who  walks  in  the  dark,  and  stumbles  at  every  step ;  he  has 
no  end  or  aim  in  life,  no  consolation  in  misfortune,  and  no  hope  in 
death.  He  cannot  have  any  solid  or  lasting  happiness,  or  any  true 
contentment.  Without  a  knowledge  of  God  a  well-ordered  life  is  im 
possible.  Just  as  an  untilled  field  produces  no  good  fruit,  so  a  man 
who  has  not  the  knowledge  of  God  can  produce  no  good  works.  Igno 
rance  and  f  orgetf  ulness  of  God  are  the  causes  of  most  of  the  sins  that 
men  commit.  Rash  and  false  oaths,  neglect  of  the  service  of  God 


80  Faith. 

and  of  the  sacraments,  the  love  of  gold,  the  sinful  indulgence  of  the 
passions,  are  all  due  to  wilful  ignorance  and  forgetfulness  of  God. 
Thus  the  prophet  Osee  exclaims  "  There  is  no  knowledge  of  God  in 
the  land.  Cursing  and  lying  and  killing  and  theft  and  adultery  have 
overflowed"  (Osee  iv.  2,  3).  And  St.  Ignatius  of  Loyola  cries  out, 
"  O  God,  Thou  joy  of  my  soul,  if  only  men  knew  Thee,  they  never 
would  offend  Thee,"  and  experience  shows  that  in  the  jails  the  greater 
part  of  the  prisoners  are  those  who  knew  nothing  of  God.  When 
Frederick  of  Prussia  at  length  recognized  that  the  want  of  the  knowl 
edge  of  God  was  the  cause  of  the  increase  in  crime,  he  exclaimed, 
"  Then  I  will  have  religion  introduced  into  the  country."  This  is 
why  the  learning  and  the  understanding  of  the  Catechism,  which  is 
nothing  else  than  an  abridgement  of  the  Christian  religion,  is  all- 
important.  But  a  mere  knowledge  of  the  truths  of  religion  is  not 
sufficient;  they  must  also  be  practised. 

3.  We  arrive  at  a  right  knowledge  of  God  through  faith  in  the 
truths  which  God  has  revealed. 

It  is  true  that  by  means  of  reason  and  from  the  contemplation 
of  the  creatures  that  God  has  made  man  can  arrive  at  a  knowledge 
of  God  (Rom.  i. 20).  "  The  heavens  show  forth  the  glory  of  God"  (Ps. 
xviii.  2).  But  our  reason  is  so  weak  and  prone  to  err,  that  without 
revelation  it  is  very  difficult  for  man  to  attain  to  a  clear  and  correct 
knowledge  of  God.  What  strange  and  perverted  views  of  the  Deity  we 
find  among  heathen  nations  (Cf.  Wisd.  ix.  16,  17).  God  therefore  in 
His  mercy  comes  to  our  aid  with  revelation.  Through  believing  the 
truths  that  God  has  revealed,  man  attains  to  a  clear  and  correct 
knowledge  of  God.  Hence  St.  Anselm  says,  "  The  more  I  am  nour 
ished  with  the  food  of  faith,  the  more  my  understanding  is  satisfied." 
Faith  is  a  divine  light  that  shines  in  our  souls  (2  Cor.  iv.  6).  It 
is  like  a  watch  tower,  from  which  we  can  see  that  which  cannot  be 
seen  from  the  plain  below ;  we  learn  respecting  God  that  which  cannot 
be  learned  by  mere  reason  from  the  world  around.  It  is  a  glass 
through  which  we  perceive  all  the  divine  perfections.  It  is  a  staff 
which  supports  our  feeble  reason,  and  enables  it  to  know  God  better. 
There  are  two  books  from  which  we  gain  a  knowledge  of  God ;  the 
book  of  Nature,  and  Holy  Scripture,  which  is  the  book  of  revelation. 


If  any  one  stands  in  a  room  behind  a  gauze  curtain  he  perceives  all 
those  who  are  passing  in  the  street,  and  they  see  him  not.  But  if  he 
makes  himself  known  by  speaking,  the  passers-by  are  able  to  recog 
nize  him.  Such  is  our  relation  to  God;  He  sees  us,  but  conceals 
Himself  from  our  eyes.  Yet  He  has  in  many  ways  made  Himself 
known  to  men;  to  Abraham,  to  Moses  in  the  burning  bush,  to  the 
Israelites  on  Mount  Sinai,  etc. 

1.  God  has  in  His  mercy  in  the  course  of  ages  often  revealed 
Himself  to  men  (Heb.  i.  1-2) . 

God  has  often  communicated  to  men  a  knowledge  of  His  perfec 
tions,  His  decrees,  and  His  holy  will.  Such  revelation  is  called  super- 

Divine  Revelation.  81 

natural,  as  opposed  to  the  natural  revelation  of  Himself  that  He 
makes  through  the  external  world. 

2.  God's  revelation  to  man  is  generally  made  in  the  follow 
ing  way:  He  speaks  to  individuals  and  orders  them  to  communi 
cate  to  their  fellow-men  the  revelation  made  to  them. 

Thus  God  spoke  to  Abraham,  Noe,  and  Moses.  He  sent  Noe  to 
preach  to  sinful  men  before  the  Flood,  He  sent  Moses  to  the  Israelites 
when  they  were  oppressed  by  Pharao.  Sometimes  God  spoke  to  a 
number  of  men  who  were  assembled  together,  as  when  He  gave  the 
law  to  the  people  on  Mount  Sinai,  or  when  Our  Lord  was  baptized 
by  St.  John  and  the  Holy  Spirit  descended  like  a  dove,  a  voice  being 
heard  from  heaven :  "  This  is  My  beloved  Son,  in  Whom  I  am  well 
pleased."  Sometimes  God  revealed  Himself  through  angels,  as  for  in 
stance  to  Tobias  through  the  archangel  Raphael.  When  God  spoke  to 
men,  He  took  the  visible  form  of  a  man  or  of  an  angel,  or  He  spoke 
from  a  cloud  (as  on  Sinai),  or  from  a  burning  bush,  as  He  did  to 
Moses,  or  amid  a  bright  light  from  heaven,  as  to  St.  Paul,  or  in  the 
whispering  of  the  wind,  as  He  did  to  Elias,  or  by  some  interior  illu 
mination  (Deut.  ii.  6-8).  Those  to  whom  God  revealed  Himself, 
and  who  had  to  bear  witness  before  others  to  the  divine  message,  were 
called  messengers  from  God,  and  often  received  from  Him  the  power 
of  working  miracles  and  of  prophecy,  in  proof  of  their  divine  mission. 
(Cf.  the  miracles  of  Moses  before  Pharao,  of  Elias,  the  apostles,  etc.) 

3.  Those  who  were  specially  intrusted  with  the  communica 
tion  to  men  of  the  divine  revelation  were  the  following:  the 
patriarchs,  the  prophets,  Jesus  Christ  the  Son  of  God  (Heb.  i. 
1),  and  His  apostles. 

Revelation  is  to  mankind  in  general  what  education  is  to  indi 
vidual  men.  Revelation  corresponds  to  the  needs  of  the  successive 
stages  of  human  development,  to  the  infancy,  childhood,  and  youth  of 
mankind.  The  patriarchs,  who  had  more  of  the  nature  of  children, 
needed  less  in  the  way  of  precepts,  and  God  dealt  with  them  in  more 
familiar  fashion ;  the  people  of  Israel,  in  whom,  as  in  the  season  of 
youth,  self-will  and  sensuality  were  strong,  had  to  be  trained  by  strict 
laws  and  constant  correction;  but  when  mankind  had  arrived  at  the 
period  of  manhood,  then  God  sent  His  Son  and  introduced  the  law  of 
love  (1  Cor.  xiii.  11;  Gal.  iii.  24).  Of  all  those  who^declared  to  men 
the  divine  revelation,  the  Son  of  God  was  pre-eminently  the  true 
witness.  He  says  of  Himself,  "  For  this  I  was  born,  and  for  this  I 
came  into  the  world,  that  I  should  bear  testimony  to  the  truth" 
(John  xviii.  37).  He  was  of  all  witnesses  the  best,  because  He  alone 
had  seen  God  (John  i.  18).  The  apostles  also  had  to  declare  to  men 
the  divine  revelation.  They  had  to  bear  witness  of  what  they  had  seen, 
and  above  all  of  the  resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ  (Acts  x.  39).  With 
the  revelation  given  through  Christ  and  His  apostles,  the  revelation 
that  was  given  for  the  instruction  of  all  mankind  was  concluded. 

4.  Even  since  the  death  of  Our  Lord  and  His  apostles  God 
has  often  revealed  Himself  to  men;  yet  these  subsequent  reve- 

82  Faith. 

lations  are  no  continuation  of  the  earlier  revelation  on  which  our 
faith  rests. 

Instances  of  these  subsequent  revelations  are  the  appearances  of 
Our  Lord  to  Blessed  Margaret  Mary,  and  of  Our  Lady  at  Lourdes. 
Such  revelations  must  not  be  too  lightly  credited,  as  men  are  liable  to 
be  deceived;  yet  they  must  not  be  rejected  without  examination.  Many 
of  the  saints  have  had  such  revelations,  i.e.,  St.  Francis  of  Assisi, 
to  whom  Our  Lord  appeared  upon  the  cross,  and  St.  Anthony  of 
Padua,  in  whose  arms  the  Child  Jesus  deigned  to  rest.  These  private 
revelations  were  more  especially  given  to  those  who  were  striving 
after  perfection,  in  order  to  encourage  them  to  greater  perfection 
still.  Yet  God  sometimes  revealed  Himself  to  wicked  men,  i.e.,  to 
Baltassar  in  the  handwriting  on  the  wall  (Dan.  v.  5,  seq.}.  Hence  a 
private  revelation  given  to  any  one  is  not  necessarily  a  mark  of  holi- 
'ness.  These  revelations,  moreover,  were  no  further  continuation  of 
the  revelation  intended  for  the  instruction  of  the  whole  of  mankind, 
which  ended  with  the  death  of  the  last  of  the  apostles ;  they  are  rather 
a  confirmation  of  truths  already  revealed.  Thus  Our  Lady,  when  she 
appeared  at  Lourdes,  proclaimed  herself  the  "Immaculate  Concep 
tion,"  so  confirming  the  dogma  which  Pius  IX.  had  defined  four  years 
previously,  and  the  countless  miracles  and  cures  that  have  taken 
place  there  have  established  the  truth  of  the  apparition.  Yet  it  is 
always  possible  that  the  malice  of  the  devil  may  introduce  deceptions 
into  private  revelations.  ]STo  one  is  therefore  bound  to  give  to  them  a 
firmer  belief  (even  though  they  have  in  general  been  approved  by  the 
Church),  than  he  would  give  to  the  assertions  of  an  honest  and  trust 
worthy  man. 

5.  Revelation  was  necessary  because,  in  consequence  of 
original  sin,  man  without  revelation  has  never  had  a  correct 
knowledge  of  God  and  of  His  will ;  and  also  because  it  was  neces 
sary  that  man  should  be  prepared  for  the  coming  of  the  Re 

The  three  Wise  Men  would  never  have  found  Christ  if  He  had  not 
revealed  Himself  to  them  by  means  of  a  star;  so  mankind  would 
have  lived  far  off  from  God,  and  would  never  have  attained  to  a  true 
knowledge  of  Him,  if  He  had  not  revealed  Himself  to  them.  As  the 
eye  needs  light  to  see  things  of  sense,  so  human  reason,  which  is  the 
eye  of  the  soul,  needs  revelation  to  perceive  things  divine  (St. 
Augustine).  Original  sin  and  the  indulgence  of  the  senses  had  so 
dimmed  human  reason  that  it  could  no  longer  recognize  God  in  His 
works  (Wisd.  ix.  16).  This  is  proved  by  the  history  of  paganism. 
The  heathen  worshipped  countless  deities,  idols,  beasts,  and  wicked 
men,  and  his  worship  was  often  immoral  and  horrible,  as  in  the 
human  sacrifices  offered  by  him.  The  gods  were  often  the  patrons 
of  vice.  The  greatest  men  among  the  heathens  approved  practices 
forbidden  by  the  natural  law.  Thus  Cicero  approved  of  suicide,  Plato 
of  the  exposing  to  death  those  children  who  were  weak  or  de 
formed.  Their  theories  when  good  were  at  variance  with  their  prac 
tice.  Socrates  denounced  polytheism,  but  before  his  death  told  his 
disciples  to  sacrifice  a  cock  to  Esculapius.  Many  of  the  best  of  the 

The  Preaching  of  the  Gospel  83 

heathens  recognized  and  lamented  their  ignorance  of  God.  Besides, 
without  a  previous  revelation  the  Saviour  would  have  been  neither 
known  nor  honored  as  He  ought  to  have  been  known  and  honored; 
it  was  fitting  that  He  should  be  announced  beforehand,  like 
a  king  coming  to  take  possession  of  his  kingdom.  We  ought  indeed 
to  be  grateful  to  God  that  He  has  given  us  the  light  of  revelation, 
just  as  a  blind  man  is  grateful  to  the  physician  who  has  restored 
his  sight.  Yet  how  many  there  are  who  wilfully  shut  their  eyes  to 
the  light  of  revelation  even  now  ! 


1.  The  truths  revealed  by  God  to  men  were,  by  God's  command, 
proclaimed  to  all  nations  of  the  earth  by  the  Catholic  Church,  and 
especially  by  means  of  the  living  word,  that  is,  by  preaching. 

The  command  to  proclaim  to  all  nations  of  the  earth  the 
truths  revealed  by  God,  was  given  to  the  apostles  by  Onr  Lord 
at  the  time  of  His  ascension. 

Our  Lord,  before  ascending  into  heaven,  spoke  to  His  apostles  as 
follows :  "  All  power  is  given  to  Me  in  heaven  and  in  earth ;  going, 
therefore,  teach  ye  all  nations:  baptizing  them  in  the  name  of  the 
Father  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost:  .  .  .  and  behold  I 
am  with  you  all  days,  even  to  the  end  of  the  world"  (Matt,  xxviii. 
18-20).  For  this  reason  the  apostles  and  their  successors  have  never 
allowed  themselves  to  be  prohibited  by  any  earthly  authority  from 
preaching  the  Gospel  (Cf.  Acts  v.  29).  Nor  has  the  Church  ever  been 
turned  aside  from  fulfilling  her  mission  of  preaching  the  Gospel,  by 
the  opposition  of  the  world.  Even  now  in  many  countries  the  State 
seeks  to  make  the  Church  dependent  on  her.  It  is  in  consequence  of 
the  command  given  by  Our  Lord  to  the  apostles,  that  the  Popes  send 
missionaries  to  the  heathens,  and  issue  Papal  briefs  and  rescripts 
to  Christendom ;  that  bishops  send  priests  throughout  their  dioceses, 
and  publish  pastoral  letters ;  that  parish  priests  instruct  their  people 
by  sermons  and  Catechism.  While  the  Catholic  Church  spreads  the 
Word  of  God  by  means  of  preaching,  Mahometans  spread  their  be 
liefs  with  fire  and  sword,  and  Protestants  by  means  of  the  Bible. 

It  is  an  error  to  suppose  that  Holy  Scripture  is  the  only 
means  intended  by  almighty  God  to  communicate  to  the  nations 
of  the  earth  the  truths  of  revelation. 

It  was  the  will  of  God  to  make  use  of  preaching  for  the  conversion 
of  the  world.  Our  Lord  said  to  His  apostles,  "  Go  and  teach  all  na 
tions,"  not  "  Go  and  write  to  all  nations."  Out  of  the  apostles  only 
two  wrote;  all  the  rest  preached.  The  apostles  themselves  were  the 
books  of  the  faithful  (St.  Augustine).  St.  Paul  tells  us  that  "  Faith 
cometh  by  hearing"  (Rom.  x.  17),  not  from  mere  books.  Teaching 
by  word  of  mouth  corresponds  to  human  needs ;  every  one  prefers  to 
be  taught,  rather  than  to  have  to  hunt  out  the  truth  from  books  by 
Btudy.  If  writings  were  the  only  means  by  which  men  could  arrive 
at  a  knowledge  of  revealed  truth  the  Christians  of  the  first  two  cen- 

84  Faith. 

turies  would  have  been  at  a  terrible  disadvantage ;  so  too  would  those 
who  cannot  read,  as  well  as  the  great  mass  of  mankind  in  the  present 
day,  who  have  neither  the  knowledge  nor  the  capacity  to  penetrate 
the  meaning  of  the  written  Word.  Yet  it  is  the  will  of  God  that  "  All 
men  should  come  to  a  knowledge  of  the  truth  "  (1  Tim.  ii.  4).  Holy 
Scripture  soon  loses  its  value  in  the  eyes  of  those  who  have  not  the 
assurance  of  the  living  Word  that  it  is  truly  of  divine  origin.  St. 
Augustine  says :  "  I  should  not  believe  the  Gospel  unless  the  au 
thority  of  the  Church  moved  me  to  do  so." 

A  truth  which  the  Church  puts  before  us  as  revealed  by  God 
is  called  a  truth  of  faith,  or  a  dogma. 

Either  a  universal  council  (i.e.,  one  consisting  of  the  bishops  of 
the  whole  world)  acting  under  the  authority  of  the  Pope,  or  the  Pope 
himself,  has  power  to  declare  a  truth  to  be  revealed  by  God.  Thus  the 
Council  of  ISHcaBa  declared  the  divinity  of  Our  Lord  to  be  an  article 
of  faith;  and  Pope  Pius  IX.  the  Immaculate  Conception  of  the  holy 
Mother  of  God  (1854).  Thereby  no  new  doctrines  were  taught,  but 
these  truths  were  declared  to  have  been  truly  revealed  by  God,  and 
thenceforth  they  became  dogmas  of  the  faith.  When  a  child  advances 
in  its  knowledge  of  religious  truth,  it  does  not  really  change  its  be 
lief;  so  the  Church,  the  collected  body  of  all  the  faithful,  receives 
dogmas  new  to  it,  when,  on  the  appearance  of  some  new  form  of  error, 
it  sets  forth,  after  careful  examination,  certain  truths  of  religion  in 
explicit  form  and  imposes  their  acceptance  on  all  the  faithful. 
Before  the  definition  of  it  by  the  Church  it  was  only  a  "  pious  opin 
ion,"  or  one  proximate  to  faith.  Such  is  at  the  present  time  the 
belief  in  the  assumption  of  the  body  of  Our  Lady  into  heaven. 

2.  The  Catholic  Church  derives  from  Holy  Scripture  and  from 
Tradition  the  truths  that  God  has  revealed. 

Holy  Scripture  and  Tradition  are  of  equal  authority,  and  claim 
from  us  equal  respect.  Holy  Scripture  is  the  written,  Tradition 
the  unwritten  Word  of  God.  St.  Paul  exhorts  the  faithful  to  hold 
fast  the  traditions  they  have  received,  whether  it  be  by  word  of  mouth 
or  by  writing  (2  Thess.  ii.  14). 


1.  Holy  Scripture  or  the  Bible  consists  of  seventy-two  books, 
which  were  written  by  men  inspired  by  God,  and  under  the 
guidance  and  influence  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  These  seventy-two 
books  are  recognized  by  the  Church  as  "  the  Word  of  God." 

The  Holy  Ghost  inspired  in  a  very  special  way  the  writers  of 
Holy  Scripture  ;  He  moved  them  to  write,  and  guided  and  en 
lightened  them  while  they  were  writing  (Cf.  2  Tim.  iii.  16;  Matt. 
xv.  3;  Mark  xii.  36).  The  Council  of  Trent  and  the  Vatican  Council 
have  expressly  declared  that  God  is  the  Author  (auctor)  of  Holy 
Scripture.  St.  Augustine  says :  "  It  is  as  if  the  Gospels  were  written 
down  with  Christ's  own  hand."  "  The  writers  of  Holy  Scripture," 
says  St.  Laurence  Justinian,  "were  like  a  musical  instrument  on 

Holy  Scripture  and  Tradition.  85 

which  the  Holy  Spirit  played."  Yet  they  were  not  mere  passive  in 
struments;  each  writer  brings  his  own  personal  character  with  him 
into  what  he  writes.  They  are  like  a  number  of  painters,  who  all 
paint  a  building  which  they  see  in  the  clear  daylight,  quite  cor 
rectly,  but  yet  with  a  great  many  points  of  difference,  according  to 
their  respective  talent  and  skill.  Hence  it  follows  that  there  are  no 
errors  in  Scripture.  We  must  not  look  to  the  individual  words,  but 
to  the  general  sense.  We  must  not  take  offence  at  popular  expres 
sions  which  are  not  scientifically  correct,  as  when  the  motion  of  the 
sun,  sunrise,  and  sunset,  are  alluded  to.  Moreover,  since  the  Bible 
contains  the  Word  of  God,  we  must  treat  it  with  great  reverence. 
Thus  the  people  always  stand  up  when  the  Gospel  is  being  read  at 
Mass;  oaths  are  taken  on  the  book  of  the  Gospels;  in  Mass  the 
deacon  approaches  the  book  of  the  Gospels  with  incense  and  lights. 
The  Council  of  Trent  imposes  special  penalties  on  those  who  mock 
at  Holy  Scripture.  The  Jews  had  the  greatest  reverence  for  the 
Scriptures  and  the  precepts  therein  contained. 

The  seventy-two  books  of  Holy  Scripture  are  divided  into 
forty-five  books  of  the  Old  Testament  and  twenty-seven  of  the 
New.  They  are  moreover  divided  into  doctrinal,  historical,  and 
prophetical  books. 

Old  Testament.  The  historical  books  comprise  (1),  The  five  books 
of  Moses,  which  contain  the  early  history  of  man,  the  lives  of  the 
patriarchs,  and  the  history  of  the  Jewish  people  up  to  the  time  of 
their  entrance  into  the  Holy  Land.  (2),  The  books  of  Josue  and 
Judges,  which  relate  their  conquest  of  Palestine  and  their  struggles 
with  surrounding  nations.  (3),  The  four  books  of  Kings,  which  ^re 
count  their  history  under  their  kings.  (4),  The  book  of  Tobias, 
which  gives  an  account  of  the  life  of  Tobias  and  his  son  during  the 
captivity.  (5),  The  books  of  the  Machabees,  which  relate  the  oppres 
sion  of  the  Jews  under  Antiochus,  etc.  The  doctrinal  books  comprise 
the  story  of  Job,  the  Psalms  of  David,  the  Proverbs  of  Solomon,  and 
the  books  of  Ecclesiastes,  Wisdom,  and  Ecclesiasticus.  The  prophet 
ical  books  comprise  the  four  greater  prophets,  Isaias,  Jeremias,  Eze- 
chiel,  and  Daniel,  and  the  twelve  lesser  prophets,  Jonas,  Habacuc, 

New  Testament.  The  historical  books  are  the  four  Gospels,  and 
the  Acts  of  the  Apostles.  The  doctrinal  books  are  the  twenty-one 
Epistles,  including  fourteen  of  St.  Paul's  epistles.  The  prophetical 
book  is  the  Apocalypse  of  St.  John,  which  tells  in  obscure  language 
the  future  destinies  of  the  Church.  Most  of  the  books  of  the^Old  Tes 
tament  were  originally  written  in  Hebrew,  most  of  the  New  in  Greek. 
The  Latin  translation  of  the  Bible  called  the  Vulgate  is  an  amended 
version  of  the  translation  made  by  St.  Jerome  about  A.D.  400.  The 
Vulgate  is  declared  by  the  Council  of  Trent  to  be  an  authentic  ren 
dering  of  the  original. 

The  most  important  books  of  Holy  Scripture  are  the  four 
Gospels  and  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles.  The  four  Evangelists 
relate  the  life  and  teaching  of  Our  Lord;  the  Acts  of  the 
Apostles  recount  the  labors  of  St.  Peter  and  St»  Paul, 

86  Faith. 

The  writers  of  the  Four  Gospels  are  called  the  four  Evangelists. 
Two  of  them,  St.  Matthew  and  St.  John,  were  apostles,  St.  Mark  was 
a  companion  of  St.  Peter,  and  St.  Luke  of  St.  Paul  on  his  apostolic 
journeys.  St.  Matthew's  gospel  was  originally  written  in  Hebrew, 
for  the  benefit  of  the  Jews  of  Palestine.  He  shows  how  Jesus  of 
Nazareth  fulfilled  the  prophecies  of  the  Old  Testament,  and  proved 
Himself  to  be  the  true  Messias.  St.  Mark  wrote  for  the  Christians  of 
Rome  and  shows  Christ  to  be  the  Son  of  God.  St.  Luke  wrote  for  a 
distinguished  citizen  of  Rome,  named  Theophilus,  in  order  to  instruct 
him  in  the  life  and  doctrine  of  Christ.  We  owe  to  St.  Luke  many 
details  about  Our  Lady,  and  many  parables  not  given  by  the  other 
Evangelists.  St.  John  wrote  his  gospel  in  his  old  age,  to  prove 
against  the  heretics  of  the  time  that  Jesus  Christ  is  truly  God.  He 
quotes  chiefly  those  sayings  of  Christ  from  which  His  divinity  is 
most  clearly  proved.  The  Gospels  were  probably  written  in  the  orde*- 
in  which  they  stand;  St.  Matthew  wrote  about  A.D.  40,  St.  Mark  and 
St.  Luke  some  twenty-five  years  later,  St.  John  about  A.D.  90.  The 
four  Gospels  were  collected  into  one  volume  in  the  second  century. 

It  can  be  proved  from  internal  evidence  that  the  Gospels 
were  written  by  disciples  of  Christ,  and  narrate  what  is  true. 
We  can  also  prove  from  the  oldest  copies,  from  translations,  and 
from  quotations,  that  no  change  has  been  made  in  them  since 
they  were  first  written.  The  Gospels  are  therefore  genuine, 
worthy  of  belief,  and  incorrupt. 

On  reading  the  Gospels  we  recognize  at  once  that  they  were  the 
work  of  Jews.  The  writers  introduce  Hebrew  expressions  (Luke  viii. 
14;  John  xvii.  12).  They  wrote  before  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem, 
as  we  gather  from  their  intimate  acquaintance  with  the  city.  If  they 
had  written  in  the  second  century,  they  could  not  have  possessed  this 
knowledge.  Their  style  shows  that  they  were  unlettered  men.  The 
vividness  of  their  descriptions  proves  them  to  have  witnessed  the 
scenes  and  events  they  describe.  The  testimony  of  the  most  ancient 
Christian  writers,  and  the  consent  of  the  churches  also  prove  the 
genuineness  of  the  Gospels.  The  truthfulness  of  the  Evangelists 
appears  in  their  quiet  and  passionless  manner  of  writing;  they  do 
not  conceal  their  own  faults,  and  narrate  what  they  knew  would  ex 
pose  them  to  persecution  and  danger  of  death ;  they  all  draw  the  self 
same  picture  of  Christ,  though  writing  in  different  places  and  to 
various  readers ;  the  apparent  discrepancies  disprove  any  sort  of  con 
spiracy  among  them  or  any  copying  from  one  another.  Lastly,  it 
would  be  impossible  to  invent  such  a  lofty  type  of  character  as  that 
of  Jesus  Christ.  The  Gospels  have  not  been  in  any  way  altered  in 
the  course  of  time.  The  earliest  copies  and  translations  agree  with 
our  present  Bibles,  e.g.,  the  Syrian  translation  (called  the  Peshito), 
which  dates  from  the  second  century,  and  the  Latin  (called  the 
Halo),  which  dates  from  A.D.  370,  besides  numerous  copies  of  the 
original  text  dating  from  the  fourth  century  onwards.  During  the 
first  two  centuries  the  Scriptures  were  read  every  Sunday  in  th«» 
various  Christian  churches  and  were  most  carefully  guarded.  We 
also  find  a  mass  of  quotations  in  the  early  Christian  writers,  which 
prove  their  text  to  have  been  identical  with  our  own.  The  Old 

Holy  Scripture  and  Tradition.  87' ' 

Testament  has  always  been  most  jealously  guarded  by  the  Jews,  who 
in  their  reverence  for  it  counted  the  very  letters.  There  is,  moreover, 
no  doubt  that  God  watched  over  the  integrity  of  Holy  Scripture, 
and  would  no  more  have  allowed  the  early  centuries  alone  to  profit 
by  it,  than  He  would  have  created  the  sun  for  the  first  generations  of 
men  only. 

The  reading  of  Holy  Scripture  is  permitted  to  Catholics,  and 
is  very  profitable  to  them;  but  the  text  used  by  them  must  have 
been  authorized  by  the  Pope,  and  must  be  provided  with  ex 
planatory  notes. 

In  Holy  Scripture  we  learn  to  know  God  aright ;  we  see  His  omnip 
otence  (in  creation  and  all  the  wonders  narrated  in  the  Bible),  His 
wisdom  (in  guidance  of  individuals  and  of  the  whole  human  race), 
His  goodness  (in  the  Incarnation  and  the  sufferings  of  Our  Lord).  We 
have  in  the  saints,  and  above  all  in  Jesus  Christ,  glorious  examples 
of  virtue  to  incite  us  to  the  like.  "  The  Bible,"  says  St.  Ephrem, 
"  is  like  a  trumpet  that  inspires  courage  into  soldiers.  It  is  like  a 
lighthouse,  which  guides  us  to  a  safe  haven,  as  we  sail  over  the 
perilous  sea  of  life."  It  also  warns  us  against  sin,  shows  its  awful  con 
sequences,  as  in  the  story  of  the  Fall,  of  the  Flood,  of  the  cities  of  the 
plain,  of  Saul,  Absalom,  Judas,  Herod,  etc.  It  contains  all  that  is 
profitable  to  man,  and  a  great  deal  more  than  can  be  found  elsewhere. 
It  is  like  an  overflowing  well  that  can  never  be  exhausted.  There 
is  always  something  new  to  be  found  in  it.  But  he  who  desires  to 
understand  and  profit  by  it,  must  have  something  of  the  spirit  with 
which  the  minds  of  its  writers  were  full ;  else  he  will  never  penetrate 
beneath  the  surface,  or  arrive  at  its  true  meaning. 

The  reason  why  we  are  not  permitted  to  read  any  version 
of  the  Bible  that  we  choose  is  (1),  Because  the  unaltered  text  and 
true  explanation  of  it  are  only  to  be  found  in  the  Catholic 
Church.  (2),  Because  the  greater  part  of  it  is  very  difficult  to 

It  is  only  to  the  Catholic  Church,  i.e.,  to  the  apostles  and  their  suc 
cessors,  the  bishops,  that  Our  Lord  has  promised  the  gift  of  the  Holy 
Spirit,  and  that  the  gates  of  hell  shall  not  prevail  against  it.  Hence 
the  Holy  Scripture,  out  of  which  the  Catholic  Church^  draws  her 
teaching,  cannot  possibly  be  altered  or  corrupted.  Heretics  have  on 
the  other  hand  sometimes  changed  the  meaning  of  ^  particular  pas 
sages  in  their  own  favor,  or  have  omitted  whole  portions  if  they  did 
not  please  them.  Thus  Luther  rejected  the  epistle  of  St.  James,  be 
cause  the  apostle  says  that  faith  without  works  is  dead.  The  diffi 
culty  of  understanding  Holy  Scripture  is  a  further  reason  for  the 
Church's  restrictions.  How  few  there  are  who  can  honestly  say  that 
they  thoroughly  understand  the  epistles  that  are  read  at  Mass — and 
these  are  chosen  for  their  simple  and  practical  character.  St.  Peter 
himself  says  (2  Pet.  iii.  16)  that  in  the  epistles  of  St.  Paul  there  are 
some  things  hard  to  be  understood,  and  that  the  unstable  would 
pervert  these  to  their  own  destruction.  St.  Augustine  says: 
<'  There  are  more  things  in  the  Bible  which  I  cannot  understand 

88  Faith. 

than  those  I  can  understand."  The  prophetical  books  are  specially 
obscure.  Hence  the  necessity  of  an  authentic  exposition  of  the  Bible. 
Heretics  often  give  half  a  dozen  different  meanings  to  the  same  pas 
sage.  The  Catholic  Church  is  the  authority  that  God  has  appointed 
to  explain  Holy  Scripture;  for  to  her  the  Holy  Spirit  has  been  given. 
The  child  brings  the  nut  that  has  been  given  it  to  its  mother  to  be 
cracked ;  so  the  Catholic  comes  to  the  Church  for  the  explanation  of 
the  Bible.  This  is  why  only  Bibles  with  explanatory  notes  are 
allowed  to  Catholics. 

2.  The  truths  of  divine  revelation,  which  have  not  been 
written  down  in  the  pages  of  Holy  Scripture,  but  have  been 
transmitted  by  word  of  mouth,  are  called  Tradition. 

The  apostles  received  from  Our  Lord  the  command  to  preach,  not 
to  write.  Their  writings  are  concerned  more  with  the  doings  than 
with  the  teaching  of  Christ,  hence  their  instructions  on  points  of 
doctrine  are  very  incomplete.  They  themselves  say  that  there  is 
much  that  they  have  delivered  to  the  faithful  by  word  of  mouth  (2 
John  12;  1  Cor.  xi.  2;  John  xxi.  25).  Accordingly  we  are  referred  to 
Tradition.  It  is  by  Tradition  that  we  know  that  Our  Lord  instituted 
seven  sacraments.  It  is  by  Tradition  that  we  are  taught  that  there 
is  a  purgatory,  that  Sunday  is  to  be  kept  holy,  and  that  infants  are 
to  be  baptized.  It  is  Tradition  which  teaches  us  what  books  belong  to 
Holy  Scripture,  etc.  Tradition  comes  down  to  us  from  the  time  of 
the  apostles.  Just  as  those  who  follow  up  the  course  of  a  stream 
gradually  draw  near  to  the  fountain-head,  and  thus  discover  how  far 
the  water  flows,  so  we  can  search  out  the  historical  sources  of  the 
teaching  of  the  earlier  centuries  of  the  Church,  and  arrive  at  her 
true  doctrine.  Every  doctrine  that  has  always  been  believed  in  by 
the  universal  Church,  comes  down  to  us  from  the  apostles.  If  there 
fore  there  is  any  doctrine  of  the  Church  that  we  do  not  find  in  Holy 
Scripture,  we  shall  find  it  in  the  stream  of  Tradition,  and  shall  be 
able  to  trace  it  up  to  the  first  ages  of  Christianity. 

The  chief  sources  of  Tradition  are  the  writings  of  the 
Fathers,  the  decrees  of  Councils,  and  the  Creeds  and  prayers  of 
the  Church. 

The  Fathers  of  the  Church  were  those  who  were  distinguished  in 
the  early  ages  of  the  Church  by  their  great  learning  and  holiness. 
Such  are  St.  Justin,  the  philosopher  and  zealous  defender  of  the 
Christian  religion  (A.D.  166),  St.  Irenseus,  Bishop  of  Lyons  (A.D. 
202),  St.  Cyprian,  Bishop  of  Carthage,  etc.  Many  of  these  were  dis 
ciples  of  the  apostles,  and  are  termed  apostolic  Fathers,  as  St.  Igna 
tius,  Bishop  of  Antioch  (A.D.  107).  The  Doctors  of  the  Church  were 
those  who  in  later  times  were  distinguished  for  their  learned  writings 
and  their  sanctitv.  There  are  four  great  Greek  Doctors,  Saints  Atha- 
nasius,  Basil,  Gregory,  and  John  Chrysostom;  and  four  Latin,  Saints 
Ambrose,  Augustine,  Jerome,  and  Pope  Gregory,  called  Gregory  the 
Great.  In  the  Middle  Ages  there  were  four  other  great  Doctors  of  the 
Church,  St.  Anselm,  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  St.  Bernard,  Abbot 
of  Clairvaux,  St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  and  St.  Bonaventure.  Among 
the  most  distinguished  Doctors  of  later  times  were  St.  Francis  of 

TJie  Christian  Faith.  89 

Sales,  Bishop  of  Geneva,  and  St.  Alphonsus  Liguori.  We  shall  speak 
hereafter  of  the  decrees  of  Councils  and  of  Creeds  as  the  sources  of 
Tradition.  The  prayers  of  the  Church  are  to  be  found  primarily  in 
the  Missal,  but  also  in  other  books  used  in  the  administration  of 
the  sacraments  and  other  rites  of  the  Church.  Thus  we  find  in  the 
Missal  prayers  for  the  dead,  whence  it  follows  that  the  Church 
teaches  their  efficacy. 


1.  Christian  faith  is  the  firm  conviction,  arrived  at  with  the 
grace  of  God,  that  all  that  Jesus  Christ  taught  on  earth  is  true, 
as  well  as  all  that  the  Catholic  Church  teaches  by  the  commission 
she  has  received  from  Him. 

At  the  Last  Supper  Our  Lord  said  "  This  is  My  body,"  "  This  is 
My  blood."  Although  the  apostles  had  the  evidence  of  their  senses 
that  what  lay  before  them  was  only  bread  and  wine,  yet  they  believed 
that  the  words  of  Christ  were  true.  The  holiness  of  the  life  of  Christ, 
the  numerous  miracles  that  He  worked,  the  predictions  of  His  that 
were  fulfilled,  had  convinced  the  apostles  that  He  was  the  Son  of 
God,  and  that  therefore  every  word  that  He  spoke  was  true.  God 
promised  Abraham  many  descendants,  and  then  commanded  him  to 
slay  his  only  son.  Abraham  obeyed,  because  he  knew  that  God's 
word  must  come  true  (Heb.  xi.  19;  Rom.  iv.  9).  This  was  a  splendid 
example  of  faith.  St.  Paul  (Heb.  xi.  1)  calls  faith  "  the  evidence  of 
things  that  do  not  appear." 

Christian  faith  is  at  the  same  time  a  matter  of  the  under 
standing  and  the  will. 

Before  a  man  believes,  he  inquires  whether  what  he  is  asked  to 
believe  was  really  revealed  by  God.  This  inquiry  is  a  duty,  for  God 
exacts  of  us  a  reasonable  service  (Rom.  xii.  1),  and  warns  us  that 
"he  who  is  hasty  to  believe  is  light  in  heart"  (Ecclus.  xix.  4).  But 
when  once  a  man  has  arrived  at  the  conviction  that  the  truth  which 
is  in  question  was  really  revealed  by  God,  then  the  will  must  at  once 
submit  to  what  God  has  laid  down,  even  though  the  reason  cannot 
fully  grasp  its  meaning.  If  the  will  does  not  submit,  faith  is  impos 
sible.  No  man  can  believe  unless  he  wills  to  believe. 

2.  Faith  is  concerned  with  many  things  which  we  cannot  per 
ceive  with  our  senses  and  cannot  grasp  with  our  understanding. 

Faith  is  a  conviction  respecting  that  which  we  see  not  (Heb.  xi. 
1).  We  believe  in  God,  though  we  do  not  see  Him;  we  believe  in 
angels  though  we  have' never  seen  them.  We  believe  in  the  resurrec 
tion  of  our  bodies,  though  we  do  not  understand  how  it  can  be.  So, 
too,  we  believe  in  the  mysteries  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  of  the  Incar 
nation,  and  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament  of  the  Altar.  This  is  why  faith 
is  so  pleasing  to  God.  "Blessed  are  they,"  says  Our  Lord  to  St. 
Thomas,  "  who  have  not  seen  but  have  believed  "  (John  xx.  29). 

Faith  never  requires  us  to  believe  anything  that  is  contra 
dictory  to  human  reason. 

90  Faith. 

The  mysteries  of  faith  are  above  and  beyond  our  reason,  but  are 
never  opposed  to  reason.  For  God  has  given  us  our  reason, 
and  it  is  the  same  God  Who  has  given  us  the  teaching  of  Christ  and 
of  the  Church.  He  who  rejects  any  doctrine  of  the  Church  ultimately 
finds  himself  involved  in  a  contradiction.  Hence  Bacon  truly  says: 
"  A  little  philosophy  takes  a  man  away  from  religion,  but  a  sound 
knowledge  of  philosophy  brings  him  back  to  religion." 

3.  We  act  quite  in  accordance  with  reason  when  we  believe, 
because  we  trust  ourselves  to  God's  truthfulness,  and  because  we 
know  for  certain  that  the  truths  of  faith  are  revealed  to  us  by 

A  short-sighted  man  believes  a  man  with  longer  sight  when  he 
tells  him  that  a  balloon  is  floating  in  the  heavens.  A  blind  man  be 
lieves  one  with  sound  sight  when  he  tells  him  that  the  map  before 
him  is  a  map  of  Europe.  We  believe  in  the  existence  of  the  cities 
of  Constantinople,  Pekin,  and  Buenos  Ayres,  though  we  may  never 
have  seen  them.  In  so  doing  we  act  reasonably.  But  how  far  more 
reasonably  do  we  act  when  we  believe  God  !  Man  may  be  mistaken, 
or  may  be  deceiving  us,  whereas  God  cannot  err  and  cannot  deceive  us. 
It  is  the  truthfulness  of  God  on  which  we  rely  when  we  make  an  act 
of  faith.  We  must,  however,  previously  be  certain  that  the  doctrine 
or  fact  which  we  are  asked  to  believe  is  one  that  has  really  been  re 
vealed  by  God.  God  bears  witness  to  Himself  as  the  Author  of  the 
truths  of  faith  by  many  actions  that  He  alone  can  perform,  such  as 
miracles  and  prophecies.  The  man  of  good  will  can  always  find  a 
sufficient  reason  for  believing,  a  man  of  bad  will  an  excuse  for  not 

We  believe  the  words  of  Christ,  because  He  is  the  Son  of 
God,  and  can  neither  deceive  nor  be  deceived.  Moreover  He  has 
established  the  truth  of  what  He  taught  by  the  miracles  that  He 

It  would  be  a  blasphemy  to  suppose  that  Our  Lord,  Who  is  truth 
itself,  could  ever  have,  in  one  single  instance,  deceived  us.-  Hence 
faith  gives  us  a  greater  certainty  than  the  evidence  of  our  senses. 
Our  senses  can  deceive  us — God  cannot  deceive  us.  Christ  Himself 
appeals  to  the  miracles  He  wrought,  when  He  says,  "  If  any  one  will 
not  believe  Me,  let  him  believe  the  works  "  (John  x.  38). 

We  believe  the  teaching  of  the  Church  because  Christ  guides 
the  Church  to  all  truth  through  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  guards  it 
against  all  error,  and  also  because  God,  even  up  to  the  present 
day,  has  confirmed  the  truth  of  the  teaching  of  the  Catholic 
Church  by  miracles. 

Our  Lord  before  His  ascension  said  to  His  apostles :  "  Behold  I 
am  with  you  all  days  even  to  the  end  of  the  world  "  (Matt,  xxviii.  20). 
And  at  the  Last  Supper :  "  I  will  ask  the  Father,  and  He  will  give  you 
another  Paraclete,  that  He  may  remain  with  you  forever,  the  Spirit 
of  truth"  (John  xiv.  16).  The  Holy  Spirit  is  therefore  still  in  the 
midst  of  the  Church,  just  as  He  was  on  the  Day  of  Pentecost.  God 

flie  Christian  Faith.  91 

moreover  still  works  miracles  in  the  Catholic  Church.  Witness,  e.g., 
the  countless  miracles  of  Lourdes,  and  those  that  take  place  at  the 
well  of  St.  Winifred  in  Wales;  and  also  those  that  must  precede  every 
beatification.  Witness  again  the  numerous  bodies  of  the  saints  that 
have  remained  incorrupt  for  long  years  after  their  death,  as  those  of 
St.  Francis  Xavier,  St.  Teresa,  St.  Elizabeth  of  Portugal,  St.  John 
of  the  Cross,  and  many  others.  Witness  again  the  head  of  the  Ven 
erable  Oliver  Plunkett  in  the  Dominican  Convent  at  Drogheda, 
which  not  only  remains  incorrupt,  but  emits  a  most  delicious  fra 
grance.  Most  of  these  bodies  were  buried  in  the  earth  for  years,  and 
were  found  incorrupt  when  their  graves  were  opened.  Witness  again 
the  miracle  which  takes  place  at  Naples  every  year,  when  the  blood 
of  St.  Januarius  becomes  liquid  on  being  brought  near  the  silver 
case  in  which  the  head  of  the  saint  is  kept,  and  again  solidifies  as 
soon  as  it  is  removed.  Faith  gives  us  a  more  certain  knowledge  than 
that  which  we  gain  through  our  senses,  or  that  which  we  arrive  at 
by  our  reasoning  powers.  Our  senses  can  mislead  us,  God  cannot; 
e.g.,  a  stick,  part  of  which  is  in  the  water,  looks  bent;  a  sound  that 
strikes  against  a  flat  building  seems  to  come  from  the  opposite  quar 
ter  to  that  whence  it  really  proceeds.  Our  intellect,  too,  can  deceive 
us,  weakened  as  it  is  by  original  sin.  As  we  see  better  with  a  tele 
scope  than  with  the  naked  eye  when  the  object  is  far  away,  so  faith 
sees  further  and  better  than  reason.  We  must  not  confuse  faith  with 
opinion.  Faith  is  certain  and  sure,  opinion  is  not. 

4.  The  Christian  faith  comprises  all  the  doctrines  of  the 
Catholic  faith. 

He  who  wilfully  disbelieves  a  single  doctrine  of  the  Catholic 
Church  has  no  true  faith,  for  he  who  receives  some  of  the  words 
of  Christ  and  rejects  others,  does  not  really  believe  that  Jesus 
Christ  is  the  Son  ol  God  and  that  He  guides  the  Catholic 

A  faith  which  does  not  comprise  all  the  doctrines  of  the  Catholic 
Church  is  no  faith  at  all.  It  is  like  a  house  without  a  foundation.  A 
man  who  believes  all  other  Catholic  doctrines,  but  rejects  the  infalli 
bility  of  the  Pope,  has  no  true  faith.  What  insolence  it  is  on  the 
part  of  men  to  treat  God  like  a  dishonest  dealer,  some  of  whose  goods 
they  accept,  and  others  reject  !  What  utter  folly  to  think  that  we 
know  better  than  God  !  As  a  bell  in  which  there  is  one  little  crack 
is  worthless,  as  one  false  note  destroys  a  harmony,  as  a  grain  of  sand 
in  the  eye  prevents  one  from  seeing,  so  the  rejection  of  a  single 
dogma  makes  faith  impossible.  He  who  wilfully  rejects  a  single 
dogma  sins  against  the  whole  body  of  doctrine  of  the  Catholic 
Church.  Hence  no  heretic,  if  he  is  so  through  his  own  fault,  can 
make  an  act  of  faith,  even  in  the  existence  of  God  or  the  divinity  of 
Jesus  Christ. 

Although  it  is  necessary  to  faith  that  all  the  teaching  of  the 
Catholic  Church  should  be  believed,  yet  it  is  not  necessary  to  be 
acquainted  with  every  one  of  her  doctrines.  But  a  Catholic 
must  at  the  very  least  know  that  there  is  a  God,  and  that  God 

92  Faith. 

directs  the  life  of  men,  rewards  the  good,  and  punishes  the 
wicked;  he  must  also  know  that  there  are  three  persons  in  God, 
and  that  the  Second  Person  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  has  become 
man,  and  has  redeemed  us  on  the  cross. 

St.  Paul  tells  us  that  "  He  that  cometh  to  God  must  believe  that 
He  is,  and  that  He  is  the  rewarder  of  them  that  seek  Him  "  (Heb.  xi. 
6).  This  was  the  minimum  required  before  the  coming  of  Christ, 
and  is  now  required  of  those  who  have  never  come  within  reach  of  the 
Gospel.  In  a  country  where  the  Gospel  is  preached  the  case  is  quite 
different,  and  no  one  can  be  admitted  to  the  Sacraments  of  Baptism 
or  Penance  until  he  has  been  instructed  in  the  above-mentioned 

He  who  has  an  opportunity  of  being  instructed  must  also 
learn  and  understand  the  Apostles'  Creed,  the  commandments 
of  God  and  of  the  Church,  and  also  he  must  have  some  knowl 
edge  of  the  doctrines  of  grace,  of  the  sacraments,  and  of  prayer, 
as  set  forth  in  some  Catechism  authorized  by  the  bishops  of  the 
country  where  he  lives. 

5.  Faith  is  a  gift  of  God,  since  the  power  to  believe  can  only  be 
attained  through  the  grace  of  God. 

St.  Paul  tells  us  "  By  grace  you  are  saved  through  faith,  and  that 
not  of  yourselves.  It  is  the  gift  of  God"  (Eph.  ii.  8).  And  Our 
Lord  says,  "  No  man  can  come  to  Me,  unless  it  be  given  to  him  by  My 
Father"  (John  vi.  66).  God  gives  us  the  gift  of  faith  in  Baptism; 
hence  Baptism  is  called  "  the  sacrament  of  faith."  Until  the  newly 
baptized  child  comes  to  the  use-  rf  reason,  he  cannot  use  this  power 
of  believing,  or  make  an  act  of  faith.  He  is  like  a  child  who  is  asleep, 
who  has  the  faculty  of  sight,  but  cannot  use  it  until  he  opens  his 
eyes.  Then  he -can  see  the  objects  around  him  under  the  influence  of 
the  light.  So  the  child  who  attains  to  reason  is  able  to  believe  the 
truths  of  religion  under  the  influence  of  the  grace  of  God. 

God  bestows  the  knowledge  of  the  truth  and  the  gift  of  faith 
chiefly  on  those  who  (1),  strive  after  it  with  earnestness  and  per 
severance;  (2),  live  a  God-fearing  life;  (3),  pray  that  they  may 
find  the  truth. 

An  earnest  desire  after  truth  is  a  sure  means  of  attaining  to  it, 
for  Our  Lord  has  said  that  "  Those  who  hunger  and  thirst  after 
justice  shall  have  their  fill"  (Matt.  v.  6).  And  again  God  says 
through  the  mouth  of  the  prophet,  "  You  shall  find  Me  when  you  seek 
Me  with  your  whole  heart"  (Jer.  xxix.  13).  The  Roman  philos 
opher  Justinus  was  an  instance  of  the  fulfilment  of  this  promise, 
for  God  rewarded  his  earnest  desire  for  truth  by  causing  him  to  fall 
in  with  an  old  man  on  the  banks  of  the  Tiber,  who  instructed  him  in 
the  truths  of  the  Christian  faith.  A  life  in  accordance  with  the  law 
of  God  will  also  obtain  the  grace  of  faith.  "  If  any  one  shall  do  the 
will  of  God,  he  shall  know  of  the  doctrine  "  (John  vii.  17).  To  such  a 
one  God  will  give  an  interior  light,  or  will  send  some  one  to  instruct 

The  Christian  Faith.  93 

him,  as  He  did  to  Cornelius  (Acts  x.  30  seq.}.  So  Cardinal  Newman 
prayed  for  long  years  for  the  "  kindly  light "  which  at  last  brought 
him  to  the  door  of  the  Catholic  Church  and  the  same  was  the  case 
with  countless  other  converts  from  Protestantism.  Sometimes  God 
in  His  mercy  gives  the  gift  of  faith  even  to  the  enemies  of  the 
Church,  as  He  did  to  St.  Paul,  but  it  is  for  the  most  part  to  those  who 
are  in  good  faith  in  their  errors. 

"When  God  bestows  upon  a  man  the  gift  of  faith,  He  either 
employs  one  of  the  ordinary  means  of  grace,  such  as  preaching, 
or  in  some  cases  an  extraordinary  means,  such  as  a  miracle. 

The  ordinary 'means  are  preaching,  reading,  and  personal  instruc 
tion.  St.  Augustine  was  converted  by  the  preaching  of  St.  Ambrose 
in  the  Cathedral  of  Milan,  St.  Ignatius  of  Loyola  by  reading  the  lives 
of  the  saints,  the  Ethiopian  eunuch  by  his  conversation  with  St. 
Philip.  Extraordinary  means  are  those  of  which  we  find  many  at  the 
beginning  of  the  Christian  era;  such  as  the  star  that  the  Magi  fol 
lowed,  the  light  that  shone  upon  St.  Paul  on  his  journey  to  Damascus 
and  the  voice  that  he  heard  from  heaven;  the  great  cross  that  the 
Emperor  Constantino  saw  in  the  sky,  with  the  words  "  In  hoc  signo 
vincesf  the  vision  of  Our  Lady  that  Ratisbonne  saw  in  the  Church 
of  St.  Andrea  in  Eome  in  the  year  1842.  So  the  heathen  boy  The- 
ophilus  was  converted  by  the  roses  that  fell  at  his  feet  in  the  month 
of  January,  after  the  martyrdom  of  his  playmate  Dorothea  (A.D.  308). 

Many  men  fail  to  attain  to  the  Christian  faith  through 
pride,  self-will,  and  an  unwillingness  to  give  up  the  indulgence 
of  their  passions. 

It  is  the  lack  of  good  will  that  debars  many  from  the  faith.  Our 
Lord  is  the  true  light  that  enlighteneth  every  man  that  comes  into 
the  world  (John  i.  9).  It  is  the  will  of  God  that  all  men  should  come 
to  the  truth.  Men  too  often  shut  their  eyes  to  the  light,  because 
they  are  unwilling  to  change  their  evil  life;  "they  love  darkness  rather 
than  light,  because  their  deeds  are  evil"  (John  iii.  19).  Pride  is 
also  a  fatal  hindrance  to  faith.  God  loves  to  make  use  of  simple 
means  to  bring  men  to  the  knowledge  of  the  truth^  and  this  the 
proud  resent,  just  as  Naaman  resented  Eliseus'  advice_  to  go  and 
wash  in  the  Jordan.  So  Christ  was  rejected  and  despised  by  the 
Jews,  and  especially  by  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  because  He  was 
born  of  poor  parents  and  lived  in  a  town  that  was  held  in  contempt : 
"  Can  any  good  thing  come  out  of  Nazareth?  "  (John  i.  46.)  So  the 
upper  class  at  Rome  were  unwilling  to  receive  the  truth  from  a 
nation  that  was  despised  by  them,  and  from  men  who  were  in  general 
very  deficient  in  culture  or  position.  So,  too,  in  the  present  day 
God  allows  His  Church  to  be  oppressed  and  persecuted  and  looked 
down  upon.  Hence  there  is  no  miracle  at  which  the  proud  do  not 
scoff.  God  hides  the  secrets  of  His  providence  from  the  proud,  and 
more  than  this,  He  positively  resists  them  (1  Pet.  v.  5). 

6.  Faith  is  necessary  to  eternal  salvation. 

Faith  is  like  the  root  of  the  tree,  without  which  it  cannot  exist; 
it  is  the  first  step  on  the  road  to  heaven ;  it  is  the  key  which  opens 

94  Faith. 

the  treasure-house  of  all  the  virtues.  How  happy  is  the  wanderer 
when  he  lights  on  the  road  which  will  carry  him  to  his  journey's  end; 
how  far  happier  is  he  who  has  been  wandering  in  the  search  after 
truth  when  he  attains  to  a  belief  in  the  Catholic  Church;  he  has 
found  the  road  to  eternal  life.  The  saints  always  set  the  greatest 
store  on  the  possession  of  the  faith.  "  I  thank  God  unceasingly,"  said 
the  good  King  Alphonsus  of  Castile,  "  not  that  I  am  a  king, 
but  that  I  am  a  Catholic."  Without  faith  there  is  no  salvation. 
Our  Lord  says  "  He  that  believeth  not  shall  be  condemned  "  (Mark 
xvi.  16).  St.  Paul  says  that  "Without  faith  it  is  impossible  to 
please  God"  (Heb.  xi.  6).  Faith  is  like  a  boat;  as  without  a  boat 
you  cannot  cross  the  sea,  so  without  faith  you  cannot  arrive  at  the 
port  of  eternal  salvation.  It  is  like  the  pillar  of  the  cloud  which  led 
the  Israelites  across  the  desert,  or  like  the  star  that  guided  the  Wise 
Men  to  Christ.  Without  faith  we  can  do  no  good  works  pleasing  to 
God,  or  which  will  merit  for  us  a  reward  in  heaven.  Acts  of  kind 
ness,  etc.,  done  from  a  natural  motive  earn  a  reward  in  this  life,  but 
not  in  the  next.  They  are  like  a  building  which  has  no  founda 
tion.  Just  as  from  the  root  placed  in  the  ground  arises  the  beau 
tiful  plant,  with  its  leaves  and  flowers,  so  from  the  root  of  faith  arises 
good  works.  Faith  in  God  gives  rise  to  a  love  of  Him,  and  confidence 
in  Him,  and  this  enables  us  to  labor  and  suffer  for  Him.  Faith  in 
our  eternal  reward  encourages  us  in  our  toilsome  journey  through 
life.  It  gave  Job  his  patience,  Tobias  his  generosity  to  the  poor,  and 
the  martyrs  their  constancy.  Faith  provides  us  with  the  means  of 
resisting  temptation;  it  is  the  lighthouse  which  enables  the  mariner 
to  avoid  the  hidden  rocks  and  quicksands.  It  is  the  shield  that 
enables  us  to  extinguish  all  the  fiery  darts  of  the  wicked  one  (Eph. 
vi.  16).  On  the  amount  of  our  faith  depends  the  amount  that  we 
possess  of  the  other  virtues,  and  the  amount  of  grace  that  we  receive 
from  God. 

7.  Faith  alone  is  not  sufficient  for  salvation. 

It  must  be  a  living  faith;  that  is,  we  must  add  to  it  good 
works  and  must  be  ready  to  confess  it  openly. 

A  living  faith  is  one  which  produces  works  pleasing  to  God. 
Our  Lord  says  "  Not  every  one  who  saith  to  Me,  Lord,  Lord,  shall 
enter  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  but  he  that  doth  the  will  of  My 
Father  Who  is  in  heaven"  (Matt.  vii.  21).  He  who  has  done  no  works 
of  mercy  will  be  condemned  at  the  judgment  (Matt.  xxv.  41).  Such  a 
one  is  like  the  devils,  who  believe  and  disobey  (Jas.  ii.  19).  "  As  the 
body  without  the  spirit  is  dead,  so  faith  without  works  is  dead  also  " 
(Jas.  ii.  26).  Faith  without  works  is  like  a  tree  without  fruit,  or  like 
a  lamp  without  oil.  The  foolish  virgins  had  faith,  but  no  works. 
Good  works,  such  as  are  necessary  for  salvation,  can  only  be  per 
formed  by  one  who  is  in  possession  of  sanctifying  grace,  and  loves 
God  in  his  heart.  Hence  St.  Paul  says,  "  If  I  should  have  all  faith, 
so  that  I  could  remove  mountains  and  have  not  charity,  I  am  noth 
ing  "  (1  Cor.  xiii.  2).  We  must  also  be  ready  to  confess  our  faith. 
"With  the  heart  we  believe  unto  justice;  and  with  the  mouth  con 
fession  is  made  unto  salvation"  (Bom.  x.  10).  Man  consists  of 
body  and  soul,  and  therefore  must  honor  God,  not  only  inwardly,  but 

TJie  Motives  of  Faith.       .  95 

also  outwardly.    Christ  promises  the  kingdom  of  heaven  only  to  those 
who  confess  Him  before  men  (Matt.  x.  32). 


1.  The  external  motives  whicli  move  us  to  believe  are  chiefly 
miracles  and  prophecy. 

It  is  through  these  that  we  attain  to  a  certain  knowledge  that 
this  or  that  truth  of  faith  is  really  from  God. 

The  veracity  of  God  is  of  course  the  ultimate  motive  of  faith,  for 
we  make  an  act  of  faith  in  the  truths  revealed  by  God,  because  we 
know  that  God  is  true  and  cannot  deceive  or  be  deceived.  But  no 
reasonable  man  can  make  an  act  of  faith  in  any  truth,  until  he  is 
quite  sure  that  it  is  one  of  the  truths  revealed  by  God.  For  this 
reason  the  external  evidences  through  which  God  establishes  the 
fact  that  He  has  really  spoken  are  for  men  a  most  important  and 
necessary  motive  of  faith.  It  was  in  great  measure  because  the 
apostles  had  seen  the  countless  miracles  worked  by  Christ,  and  had 
seen  the  prophecies  of  the  Jewish  prophets  fulfilled  in  Him,  that 
they  believed  Him  without  doubting  when  He  said,  "  This  is  My 
body,  this  is  My  blood."  The  miracle  of  the  gift  of  tongues  at  Pen 
tecost  moved  three  thousand  men  to  believe  in  Christianity;  that  of 
the  healing  of  the  lame  man  at  the  Beautiful  Gate  of  the  Temple 
moved  two  thousand  more;  the  wonders  wrought  by  the  apostles  in 
duced  the  heathen  to  accept  the  Christian  faith.  How  many  were 
led  to  believe  or  confirmed  in  the  faith  by  the  fulfilment,  in  the 
year  A.D.  70,  of  Our  Lord's  prophecy  respecting  the  destruction  of 
Jerusalem,  and  again  by  the  failure  of  the  attempts  to  rebuild  the 
Temple  in  A.D.  361!  Besides  miracles  and  prophecy  there  are  also 
other  motives  of  faith,  such  as  the  constancy  of  the  martyrs,  the  won 
derful  spread  of  Christianity,  and  its  still  more  wonderful  per 
manency  in  the  face  of  all  the  persecution  and  opposition  that  the 
Church  has  had  to  endure,  the  four  attributes  of  the  Church,  etc. 

The  greater  number  of  miracles  were  performed  in  the  early 
days  of  the  Church,  because  they  were  the  means  God  employed 
for  the  spread  of  Christianity. 

God  is  like  a  gardener  who  waters  his  plants  while  they  are  still 
tender  and  small. 

2.  Miracles  are  such  extraordinary  works  as  cannot  be  per 
formed  by  the  mere  powers  of  nature,  but  are  brought  about  by  the 
intervention  of  a  higher  power. 

An  extraordinary  work  is  one  that  fills  us  with  astonishment,  be 
cause  we  have  never  seen  or  heard  of  anything  like  it  and  are  unable 
to  find  any  natural  explanation  of  it:  e.g.,  the  telegraph  and  the 
phonograph  were  extraordinary  wonders  at  the  time  ^  of  their  first 
invention.  But  their  unwonted  character  is  not  sufficient  to  consti 
tute  these  things  as  miracles;  a  miracle  must  also  surpass  all  the 
forces  of  nature.  Thus  the  raising  of  the  dead  to  life  is  not  only  an 

96  Faith. 

extraordinary  fact,  but  it  is  one  that  no  amount  of  skill  or  knowledge 
will  enable  a  man  to  perform.  Miracles  are  thus  exceptions  to  the  or 
dinary  course  of  nature;  they  appear  to  transgress  the  laws  of  nature, 
but  they  do  not  really  do  so.  The  laws  of  nature  still  hold  good,  but 
they  are  suspended  in  their  action  by  an  intervening  power. 

There  are  true  and  false  miracles. 

The  former  are  worked  by  the  power  of  almighty  God,  the  latter 
appear  to  surpass  the  powers  of  nature,  but  are  really  the  effect  of 
the  employment  of  the  powers  of  nature  by  evil  spirits,  who  by  reason 
of  their  greater  knowledge  and  power  are  able  to  produce  results 
that  deceive  and  mislead  us.  Miracles  are  divided  into  miracles  of 
the  first  class  and  miracles  of  the  second  class.  The  former  are  those 
which  altogether  surpass  all  the  powers  of  nature,  as  the  raising  of 
the  dead  to  life.  Miracles  of  the  second  class  are  extraordinary  ac 
tions  which  might  have  been  performed  by  the  powers  of  nature,  but 
not  in  the  same  way  or  in  the  same  space  of  time,  as  the  healing 
of  a  sick  man  by  a  word,  or  the  sudden  acquisition  of  the  knowl 
edge  of  a  foreign  language. 

3.  Miracles  are  wrought  by  almighty  God  only  for  His  own 
glory,  and  especially  for  the  confirmation  of  true  doctrine. 

Sometimes  it  is  to  show  that  a  man  is  a  true  messenger  sent 
by  God ;  sometimes  to  bear  witness  to  the  holiness  of  one  who  is 
dead,  or  to  his  virtue  or  justice.  God  never  works  a  miracle 
in  confirmation  of  false  doctrine. 

All  important  documents  must  bear  the  stamp  or  signature  of  the 
person  sending  them  out,  as  a  mark  of  their  being  genuine.  God  also 
has  His  stamp,  by  which  He  certifies  that  some  doctrine  is  from  Him, 
or  that  some  messenger  is  sent  by  Him.  This  stamp  consists  in  mir 
acles.  It  is  one  that  cannot  be  counterfeited.  Our  Lord  Himself  ap 
peals  to  His  miracles  as  a  proof  of  His  divine  mission  (Matt.  xi.  4, 
5;  John  x.  37).  Elias  did  the  same  (3  Kings  xviii.).  Miracles  still 
continue  to  be  worked  in  the  Catholic  Church  in  proof  of  the  truth 
of  her  teaching.  God  also  works  miracles  in  proof  of  the  holiness  of 
the  dead,  often  at  their  graves,  as  at  that  of  Eliseus  (4  Kings  xiii. 
21),  or  for  those  who  invoke  them.  Two  miracles  must  be  attested  as 
having  been  worked  by  the  intercession  of  a  servant  of  God,  before  he 
is  beatified,  and  others  before  he  is  canonized.  Under  the  Jewish 
covenant  the  saints  worked  miracles  chiefly  during  their  life;  under 
ihe  Christian  covenant  they  work  the  greater  number  after  their 
death.  God  also  works  miracles  to  manifest  His  goodness  and  His 
justice,  as  when  the  water  flowed  in  the  desert  to  supply  the  thirsting 
Israelites,  and  when  Ananias  and  Saphira  were  struck  dead.  God 
never  works  miracles  in  proof  of  false  doctrine,  though  He  sometimes 
permits  wicked  men  to  be  deceived  by  the  false  miracles  worked  by 
the  devil.  Thus  the  devil  sometimes  heals  the  sick  rapidly  or  sud 
denly  through  his  superior  knowledge  of  the  powers  of  nature. 

4.  In  working  miracles  God  usually  makes  use  of  the  interven 
tion  of  man,  sometimes  even  of  wicked  men. 

The  Motives  of  Faith.  97 

Those  whom  God  has  created  can  only  work  miracles  when  God 
gives  them  the  power.  The  saints  always  worked  miracles  in  the 
name  of  God,  or  of  Our  Lord.  Our  Lord  alone  could  work  miracles 
in  His  own  name.  Bad  men  are  sometimes  employed  by  God  as  the 
instruments  of  the  miracles  by  which  He  establishes  the  truth  (Matt, 
vii.  22,  23).  We  must  not  be  too  ready  to  have  recourse  to  the 
hypothesis  of  a  miracle,  if  the  fact  supposed  to  be  miraculous  can 
be  accounted  for  in  any  other  way. 

5.  Prophesies    are    clear   and    definite    predictions    of    future 
events  that  can  be  known  to  God  alone. 

Prophecy  also  includes  a  prediction  of  future  events,  which  de 
pend  on  the  free  will  of  man,  for  such  events  can  only  be  foreseen 
by  God  Himself.  The  most  thorough  knowledge  of  material  causes 
avails  nothing.  They  are  often  just  the  opposite  of  what  our  pre 
vious  knowledge  would  have  led  us  to  expect,  e.g.,  the  denial  of  Our 
Lord  by  St.  Peter  (Cf.  Mark  xiv.  31),  which  Our  Lord  predicted. 
Prophecies  may  be  called  miracles  of  the  omniscience  of  God, 
as  distinguished  from  the  miracles  of  His  omnipotence,  for  prophecy 
requires  an  acquaintance  with  the  heart  of  man  such  as  God  alone 
possesses  (Is.  xli.  23).  The  oracles  of  the  heathen  correspond 
to  the  false  miracles  of  which  we  have  already  spoken.  They 
were  mostly  obscure  and  sometimes  ambiguous,  as  when  the  oracle  at 
Delphi  told  Crossus  that  if  he  crossed  the  river  Halys  with  his  army 
he  would  destroy  a  mighty  kingdom,  but  did  not  say  whether  that 
kingdom  was  to  be  his  own  or  that  of  his  enemies.  Many  predictions 
were  given  by  the  oracles  and  the  heathen  soothsayers  which  were 
not  true  prophecies,  but  were  guesses  made  from  a  knowledge  of 
the  laws  of  nature  and  from  the  laws  that  regulate  the  general 
course  of  human  development.  The  evil  spirits,  through  their 
superior  knowledge,  were  often  able  to  foretell  events  that  men  could 
not  foresee,  such  as  the  approach  of  a  storm  or  pestilence,  or  the 
death  of  some  individual. 

6.  God  for  the  most  part  intrusts  the  prophesying  of  future 
events  to  His  messengers,  for  the  confirmation  of  the  true  faith 
or  for  the  benefit  of  men. 

Thus  God  intrusted  the  prophets  of  the  Jewish  covenant  with 
the  prophecy  of  a  Redeemer  to  come,  in  order  to  confirm  the  belief  in 
Him,  to  convince  those  to  whom  He  came  that  He  was  the  true 
Messias  and  those  who  have  lived  since  His  coming  of  the  truth  of 
the  Christian  religion.  He  sent  Noe  to  prophesy  the  Flood,  in  order 
to  lead  men  to  do  penance.  Sometimes  He  revealed  the  future  to 
wicked  men,  as  when  to  Baltassar  He  foretold  his  coming  destruc 
tion  by  the  handwriting  on  the  wall.  Sometimes  He  employed  wicked 
men  as  the  instruments  through  which  He  foretold  the  future,  as 
e.g.,  Balaam  (Numb.  xxiv.  1  seq.),  and  Caiphas,  as  being  the  high 
priest  of  the  year  (John  xi.  49).  But  in  general  He  only  employed 
as  instruments  of  prophecy  His  own  faithful  servants,  revealing  the 
future  event  either  through  a  vision,  or  by  an  ang^l,  or  through  some 
interior  illumination.  Thus  the  archangel  Gabriel  was  sent  ^to  in 
struct  Daniel  during  the  Babylonian  captivity  respecting  the  time  of 

98  Faith. 

the  coming  of  the  Messias.  The  prophecies  of  the  Apocalypse  were 
mostly  put  before  St.  John  in  the  form  of  a  vision.  Such  communi 
cations  were  given  to  the  prophets  only  from  time  to  time.  None  of 
them  had  a  permanent  knowledge  of  future  events.  Thus  Samuel 
did  not  know  who  was  to  be  the  future  king  of  Israel  till  David  was 
actually  presented  to  him  (1  Kings  xvi.  6-12). 

The  gift  of  prophecy  is  therefore,   generally  speaking,   a 
proof  that  he  who  possesses  it  is  a  messenger  from  God. 

The  fulfilment  of  the  prophecy  is,  of  course,  necessary  before  we 
recognize  it  as  a  proof  that  he  who  utters  it  is  a  messenger  from  God. 
It  must  not  contradict  any  revealed  doctrine,  or  be  inconsistent  with 
the  holiness  of  God.  It  must  be  edifying  and  profitable  to  men  (1 
Cor.  xiv.  3).  It  must  be  uttered  with  prudence  and  calmness,  for  it 
is  a  mark  of  false  prophets  to  show  no  control  of  self. 


Faith  is  the  road  to  heaven.  Unhappily  there  are  very  many  who 
are  wanderers  and  strangers  to  the  Christian  faith. 

1.  Those  who  do  not  possess  Christian  faith  are  either:  (1) 
heretics  or  (2)  infidels. 

1.  Heretics  are  those  who  reject  some  one  or  more  of  the 
truths  revealed  by  God. 

Heretics  are  those  who  hold  to  some  of  the  doctrines  revealed  by 
God,  and  reject  others.  Those  who  induce  others  to  a  false  belief  are 
called  leaders  of  heresy,  or  arch-heretics.  It  is  always  pride  that  leads 
them  away  from  the  truth.  Among  these  arch-heretics  was  Arius,  a 
priest  of  Alexandria,  who  denied  the  divinity  of  Christ,  and  was 
condemned  at  the  Council  of  Nica3a  in  A.D.  325 ;  Macedonius,  who  de 
nied  the  divinity  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  was  condemned  in  the 
Council  of  Constantinople  A.D.  381 ;  Martin  Luther,  who  assailed  the 
divine  institution  of  the  Papacy  and  the  right  of  the  Church  to  teach ; 
Henry  VIIL,  King  of  England,  who  threw  off  the  authority  of  the  Pope 
and  proclaimed  himself  the  Head  of  the  Church  in  England,  because 
the  Pope  refused  to  declare  invalid  his  valid  marriage  with  Queen 
Catherine;  Dollinger,  who  wns  a  professor  in  the  University  of  Mu 
nich,  and  was  celebrated  for  his  literary  labors,  but  on  the  definition  of 
the  infallibility  of  the  Pope  refused  to  accept  the  dogma,  and  was 
excommunicated.  He  died  in  1890  without  being  reconciled  or  giving 
any  sign  of  repentance.  Dollinger  was  the  chief  mover  in  the  estab 
lishment  of  the  sect  of  "  Old  Catholics."  Most  of  the  founders  of 
heresy  were  either  bishops  or  priests.  They  are  like  the  coiners  of 
false  money  who  put  into  circulation  worthless  metal  in  the  place  of 
the  pure  gold  of  truth.  Or  like  dishonest  traders,  who  mix  the  pure 
wine  of  the  Gospel  with  some  injurious  compound.  They  rre  murder 
ers  of  souls,  for  they  take  men  away  from  the  road  that  leads  to 
eternal  life,  and  tempt  them  into  that  which  leads  to  eternal  death. 
It  is  of  them  that  Our  Lord  says  "  Woe  to  them  by  whom  scandals 
come,"  and  again,  "  Beware  of  false  prophets,  who  come  to  you  in  the 

On  the  Absence  and  Loss  of  Faith.  99 

clothing  of  sheep,  but  inwardly  they  are  ravening  wolves  "  (Matt. 
vii.  5).  Their  object  is  not  to  spread  the  faith  in  its  purity,  but  to 
satisfy  their  own  evil  inclinations,  their  pride,  their  sensual  desires, 
or  their  love  of  money.  Their  religious  teaching  is  only  a  cloak  for 
these.  They  look  out  for  the  weak  side  of  human  nature,  as  Satan 
does.  Thus  Luther  tempted  princes  with  the  spoil  of  churches  and 
monasteries,  and  priests  with  the  bait  of  marriage.  To  the  class  of 
heretics  belong  also  those  schismatics  who  accept,  or  profess  to  accept, 
all  Catholic  doctrine,  but  will  not  acknowledge  the  supremacy  of  the 
Holy  See.  Thus  the  Greek  Church  is  a  schismatical  Church,  though 
its  denial  of  Papal  infallibility  constitutes  it,  since  the  Vatican  Coun 
cil,  heretical  also.  Heresy  is  one  of  the  greatest  of  all  sins,  when  it  is 
not  the  result  of  invincible  ignorance.  St.  Paul  writes  to  the  Gala- 
tians  that  if  an  angel  from  heaven  preached  to  them  any  Gospel 
different  from  that  they  had  received,  he  was  to  be  anathema  or  ac 
cursed  (Gal.  i.  8).  St.  Jerome  says  that  there  is  no  one  so  far  re 
moved  from  God  as  a  wilful  heretic. 

At  the  same  time,  he  who  lives  in  heresy  through  ignorance 
for  which  he  is  not  himself  to  blame,  is  not  a  heretic  in  the  sight 
of  God. 

Thus  those  who  are  brought  up  in  Protestantism,  and  have  no 
opportunity  of  obtaining  a  sufficient  instruction  in  the  Catholic 
religion,  are  not  heretics  in  the  sight  of  God,  for  in  them  there  is  no 
obstinate  denial  or  doubt  of  the  truth.  They  are  no  more  heretics 
than  the  man  who  takes  the  property  of  another  unwittingly  is  a 

2.  Rationalists  or  unbelievers  are  those  who  will  not  be 
lieve  anything  unless  they  can  either  perceive  it  with  their 
senses,  or  comprehend  it  with  their  understanding. 

Thus  St.  Thomas  was  an  unbeliever  when  he  refused  to  believe  in 
the  resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ,  unless  he  should  put  his  finger  into 
the  sacred  wounds  of  Our  Lord's  hands  and  feet,  and  put  his  hand 
into  His  side  (John  xx.  24).  There  are  many  in  the  present  day  like 
St.  Thomas ;  they  will  believe  nothing  except  what  they  can  see  with 
their  eyes,  or  grasp  with  their  reason ;  all  else,  e.g.,  all  the  mysteries 
of  the  faith,  they  reject.  "  Unbelief,"  says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  "  is 
like  a  sandy  soil,  that  produces  no  fruit  however  much  rain  falls  upon 
it."  The  unbeliever  does  God  the  same  injustice  that  a  subject  would 
do  to  his  king,  if  he  refused  to  acknowledge  his  authority  in  spite  of 
the  clearest  proofs  of  it. 

Unbelief  springs  for  the  most  part  from  a  bad  life. 

The  sun  is  clearly  reflected  in  pure  and  clear  water,  but  not  in 
dirty  water.  So  it  is  with  men;  a  man  of  blameless  life  easily  finds 
his  way  to  the  truth,  but  the  sensual  man  does  not  perceive  the  things 
that  are  of  the  Spirit  of  God  (1  Cor.  ii.  14).  A  mirror  that  is  dim 
reflects  badly,  or  not  at  all.  So  the  soul,  which  is  a  mirror  on  which 
the  light  falls  from  God,  cannot  receive  the  truths  of  faith  if  it  is 
dimmed  by  vice. 

100  Faith. 

2.  Faith  is  for  the  most  part  lost  either:  (1),  By  indifference 
to  the  doctrines  of  faith;  (2),  By  wilful  doubt  respecting  the 
truths  of  faith;  (3),  By  reading  books  or  other  literature  that  is 
hostile  to  the  faith;  (4),  By  frequenting  the  assemblies  of  those 
who  are  hostile  to  the  faith;  (5),  By  neglecting  the  practice  of 
one's  religion. 

He  who  through  culpable  indifference  does  not  trouble  himself 
about  the  doctrines  of  faith,  gradually  loses  the  gift  of  faith.  He 
is  like  the  plant  that  is  not  watered,  or  the  lamp  that  is  not  filled 
with  oil.  Such  men  know  that  they  are  very  ignorant  of  their  relig 
ion,  and  yet  they  take  no  pains  to  get  instructed;  they  are  en 
grossed  with  this  world;  they  never  pray  or  hear  a  sermon,  and  if 
they  are  parents,  they  take  no  pains  to  get  their  children  properly 
instructed.  Perhaps  they  fancy  themselves  men  of  enlightenment, 
and  look  with  pitying  contempt  on  those  who  are  conscientious  and 
earnest  in  the  practice  of  their  religion.  The  body  must  be  nour 
ished,  else  it  will  perish  from  hunger;  the  soul  must  be  nourished, 
else  it,  too,  will  perish.  Its  nourishment  is  the  teaching  of  Christ.  He 
Himself  says,  in  His  conversation  with  the  woman  of  Samaria,  that 
the  water  that  He  would  give  her,  i.e.,  His  divine  doctrine,  should  be 
to  her  a  well  of  water,  springing  up  unto  life  everlasting  (Johniv.  14). 
And  in  the  synagogue  of  Capharnaum  "  I  am  the  Bread  of  life ;  he 
that  cometh  to  Me  shall  not  hunger,  and  he  that  believeth  011  Me  shall 
never  thirst"  (John  vi.  35).  This  is  why  the  careful  instruction 
of  children  and  of  converts  is  so  all-important.  When  converts  fall 
away,  the  cause  very  often  is  that  they  have  not  been  well  instructed 
before  their  reception  into  the  Church.  The  Catholic  must  not 
suppose  that  he  is  freed  from  the  study  of  the  doctrines  of  faith,  be 
cause  he  has  been  duly  instructed  in  his  youth.  The  plant  must  be 
watered  even  when  it  is  grown  up;  the  soul  of  the  adult  needs  to 
renew  its  acquaintance  with  the  truths  of  faith  by  hearing  sermons, 
reading  pious  books,  etc.,  else  it  will  soon  lose  the  vigor  of  its  faith. 
He  who  allows  himself  wilfully  to  doubt  of  any  of  the  doctrines 
of  the  Church,  commits  a  serious  sin  against  faith,  and  is  sure,  little 
by  little,  to  lose  his  faith  altogether.  That  house  is  sure  to  fall  of 
which  the  foundations  are  loosened.  He  who  doubts  any  revealed 
truth  seriously  offends  God.  Sara  doubted  God's  promise  that  she 
should  bear  a  son  in  her  old  age  and  was  reproved  by  God  for  her  in 
credulity  (Gen.  xviii.  10  seq.}.  Zacharias  doubted  the  announce 
ment  of  the  angel  that  John  Baptist  should  be  born  to  him,  and  as 
a  punishment  lost  for  a  time  the  power  of  speech  (Luke  i.  18  seq.}. 
Yet  doubts  that  come  into  our  mind  involve  no  sin,  if  we  do  not 
wilfully  consent  to  them.  If  doubts  come  into  our  mind  we  should 
not  argue  with  them,  but  should  make  an  act  of  faith  and  pray  for 
more  faith.  Those  however,  who  are  outside  the  Church,  and  have 
not  the  faith,  are  bound,  if  they  doubt,  to  search  and  inquire,  until 
they  have  found  the  truth;  with  them  doubt  is  no  sin,  so  long  as  their 
search  after  truth  is  made  in  a  spirit  of  humility,  and  with  a  sincere 
desire  to  arrive  at  truth.  Faith  is  also  destroyed  by  the  reading  of 
books  hostile  to  the  faith.  In  this  way  John  Huss,  who  dis 
seminated  false  doctrine  over  Bohemia,  is  said  to  have  been  cor 
rupted  by  the  works  of  the  English  heretic,  Wyclif.  It  was  the 

On  the  Absence  and  Loss  of  Faitli.  101 

writings  of  Luther  that  chiefly  contributed  to  the  apostasy  of 
Calvin  and  Zwingli.  Julian  the  Apostate  (A.D.  363)  is  said  to  have 
lost  his  faith  by  reading  the  writings  of  the  heretic  Libanius 
during  his  expedition  to  Nicomedia.  In  the  present  day  the 
books  against  the  faith  are  countless.  Among  the  most  mis 
chievous  are  the  works  of  Rousseau,  Voltaire,  Zola,  Renan,  Gib 
bon,  Ingersoll,  Huxley,  etc.  The  Church,  like  a  good  mother, 
seeing  how  books  dangerous  to  faith  were  on  the  increase,  estab 
lished  in  1571  the  Congregation  of  the  Index,  through  which  the 
Apostolic  See  forbids  to  Catholics  a  number  of  books,  which  are 
judged  to  be  a  source  of  danger  to  faith  or  morals.  Any  one  who 
reads  such  books,  prints  them,  or  even  has  them  in  his  possession 
without  permission  from  his  ecclesiastical  superiors  incurs  the  pen 
alty  of  excommunication  reserved  to  the  Pope.  The  penalty,  however, 
is  not  incurred  by  any  one  who  reads  such  a  book  without  knowing 
that  it  was  forbidden.  At  one  time  all  books  had  to  be  sanctioned 
by  the  bishop  of  the  diocese,  but  this  was  afterwards  limited  to 
books  touching  on  religion.  By  these  means  the  Church  sought 
to  preserve  the  purity  of  Christian  doctrine.  Many,  too,  have  lost 
their  faith  by  habitually  reading  newspapers  hostile  to  the  faith. 
As  the  body  cannot  remain  in  health  if  it  is  fed  with  unwholesome 
food,  so  the  mind  becomes  diseased  -and  corrupt  if  a  man  feeds  it  with 
unwholesome  and  pernicious  literature.  The  process  may  be  a  slow 
one,  but  it  is  like  the  solid  rock  which  wears  away  little  by  little  as 
the  drops  of  water  fall  upon  it.  Bad  reading  is  like  unwholesome 
food,  which  ere  long  induces  sickness  and  even  death.  Among  the 
enemies  of  faith  are  the  Freemasons.  In  Protestant  countries 
they  seem  harmless  enough,  and  many  converts  who  have  be 
longed  to  the  Masonic  order  have  borne  witness  that  they  have 
never  encountered  anything  in  it  which  was  opposed  either  to 
throne  or  altar,  but  the  real  object  aimed  at  by  the  leaders  of  Free 
masonry  is  to  destroy  all  authority  that  comes  from  God,  and  all  re 
vealed  religion.  Their  secret  oath  of  obedience,  taken  as  it  is  with 
out  any  reserve,  is  absolutely  unlawful,  and  the  symbolism  of  many  of 
its  lodges  is  grossly  blasphemous  and  insulting  to  Christianity.  The 
idea  of  Freemasonry  is  taken  from  the  Masonic  guilds  of  the  Middle 
Ages,  the  members  of  which  employed  themselves  in  the  construction 
of  cathedrals  and  churches.  It  professes  to  have  for  its  object  the 
construction  of  a  spiritual  temple  to  humanity  and  enlightenment, 
but  Freemasons  are  invariably  the  bitter  foes  of  Christianity  and 
of  the  Catholic  Church.  Every  one  joining  them  is  ipso  facto 
excommunicate,  and  the  Pope  alone  can  restore  him  to  the  member 
ship  of  the  Church,  except  at  the  hour  of  death,  when  any  priest  has 
power  to  do  so. 

3.  All  men  who  through  their  own  fault  die  without  Christian 
faith  are,  by  the  just  judgment  of  God,  sentenced  to  eternal  per 

Unhappy  indeed  are  those  who  have  not  faith ;  "  they  sit  in  dark 
ness  and  in  the  shadow  of  death  "  (Luke  i.  79).  Our  Lord  says,  "  He 
who  believeth  not  shall  be  condemned"  (Mark  xvi.  16),  and  again 
"He  who  believeth  not  is  condemned  already'7  (John  iii.  18).  Of 

102  Faith. 

heretics  St.  Paul  says  that  they  are  condemned  by  their  own  judg 
ment  (Tit.  iii.  11).  We  ought  to  pray  often  for  heretics  and  un 
believers,  that  God  may  in  His  mercy  bring  them  to  the  true  faith. 


1,  God  requires  of  us  that  we  should  make  outward  profession 
of  our  faith. 

Christ  says,  "  So  let  your  light  shine  before  men,  that  they 
may  see  your  good  works,  and  glorify  your  Father  Who  is  in 
heaven"  (Matt.  v.  16). 

We  are  bound  in  our  words  and  actions  to  let  men  know  that  we 
are  Christians  and  Catholics.  It  is  by  the  open  profession  of  our  faith 
that  we  help  others  (as  we  see  from  the  above  words  of  Our  Lord),  to 
know  God  better  and  to  honor  Him  more.  We  also  thereby  lead  them 
to  imitate  our  good  deeds ;  for  men  are  like  sheep,  which  though  lazy 
in  themselves  and  unwilling  to  move,  will  follow  where  one  of  them 
leads  the  way.  The  open  profession  of  our  faith  also  strengthens  us 
in  all  that  is  good,  for  "  practice  makes  perfect."  Unhappily  men  are 
too  often  cowards.  For  fear  of  being  laughed  at  by  those  around 
them,  or  through  the  dread  of  suffering  some  injury  in  their  business, 
or  some  disadvantage  in  their  worldly  affairs  or  interests,  they  have 
not  the  courage  openly  to  profess  their  faith,  or  to  defend  their  re 
ligion  when  it  is  attacked;  they  laugh  at  indecent  or  profane  stories, 
join  in  immodest  conversation,  or  in  talk  against  the  Church,  priests, 
and  religious,  eat  meat  on  Friday  in  order  to  escape  the  jests  of 
their  companions,  and  miss  Mass  on  Sunday  without  excuse.  They 
forget  that  those  who  laugh  them  out  of  doing  what  is  right  only 
despise  them  in  their  hearts,  and  would  respect  and  honor  them  if 
they  stood  firm.  They  forget,  too,  that  at  the  Day  of  Judgment  the 
tables  will  be  turned,  and  that  those  who  now  mock  at  them  will  be 
full  of  terror  and  of  shame,  and  those  who  have  been  loyal  to  their 
religion  will  be  the  objects  of  the  envy  and  admiration  of  their  perse 
cutors,  who  will  bitterly  lament  their  folly  and  wickedness  (Wisd.  i. 
1-5).  Among  the  splendid  instances  of  those  who  were  faithful  to 
their  religion  and  fearlessly  made  confession  of  their  faith,  were  the 
three  young  men  who  refused  to  adore  the  golden  image  set  up  by 
Nabuchodonosor  (Dan.  ii.)  ;  the  holy  Tobias,  who  alone  of  all  his  kin 
dred  refused  to  go  to  the  golden  calves  at  Dan  and  Bethel,  and 
went  up  every  year  to  the  Temple  in  Jerusalem  (Tob.  i.  5,  6)  ;  Eleazar, 
who  preferred  death  to  even  appearing  to  eat  swine's  flesh  (2  Mach. 
vi.  18  seq.}  ;  St.  Ignatius  the  martyr,  St.  Agnes,  St.  Lucy,  St.  Mau 
rice  and  the  Theban  legion,  and  countless  other  Christian  martyrs  and 
confessors.  It  is  by  way  of  an  open  profession  of  her  faith  that  holy 
Church  has  instituted  processions  like  those  of  Corpus  Christi,  pro 
cessions  of  Our  Lady,  etc. 

We  are  only  bound  openly  to  confess  our  faith  when  our 
omission  to  do  so  would  bring  religion  into  contempt,  or  do  some 
injury  to  our  neighbor,  or  when  we  are  in  .some  way  challenged 
to  declare  and  make  profession  of  our  religion. 

On  the  Duty  of  Confessing  our  Faith.  103 

We  are  not  bound  always  and  on  all  occasions  to  confess  our  faith, 
but  only  when  the  honor  due  to  God,  or  the  edification  due  to  our 
neighbor  requires  it.  If  officious  people  question  us  about  our  faith, 
we  are  not  bound  to  answer  them;  we  can  refuse  to  answer,  or  turn 
away.  But  if  we  are  questioned  by  some  one  who  possesses  legitimate 
authority  to  do  so,  we  are  bound  to  confess  our  faith,  even  though 
it  should  cost  us  our  lives,  as  Our  Lord  did  when  questioned  before 
Caiphas,  and  as  thousands  of  the  early  Christians  did  when  called 
upon  to  sacrifice  to  the  idols.  In  such  cases  the  words  of  Our  Lord 
apply,  "  Fear  not  them  that  kill  the  body,  and  are  not  able  to  kill  the 
soul"  (Matt.  x.  28).  To  fear  man  more  than  God  is  to  bring  down 
on  us  His  anger.  We  also  should  try  and  avoid  all  wrangling  discus 
sions  and  controversies  about  religion,  wMch  generally  do  harm 
and  embitter  men  against  the  truth.  Our  faith  is  so  holy  a  thing  that 
it  must  be  spoken  of  with  great  discretion  and  prudence. 

2.  Our  Lord  has  promised  eternal  life  to  him  who  fearlessly 
makes  profession  of  his  faith. 

For  He  has  said  "  Every  one  that  confesseth  Me  before  men, 
him  I  will  also  confess  before  My  Father  Who  is  in  heaven  " 
(Matt.  x.  32). 

St.  Peter  made  a  bold  profession  of  his  faith  before  his  fellow 
apostles,  and  Our  Lord  made  him  at  once  the  head  of  the  apostles, 
and  the  foundation  of  His  Church  (Matt.  xvi.  18).  The  three 
young  men  in  Babylon  confessed  their  belief  in  the  true  God,  and 
God  delivered  them  from  the  fiery  furnace,  and  caused  them  to  be 
raised  to  high  honor.  Daniel  confessed  his  faith  by  disobeying  the 
king's  edict  and  continuing  his  prayers  in  the  sight  of  all  men,  and 
God  saved  him  from  the  lions. 

A  great  reward  in  heaven  will  be  given  to  those  who  suffer 
persecution  or  death  for  the  sake  of  their  religion. 

"  Blessed  are  they,"  says  Our  Lord,  "  that  suffer  persecution  for 
justice'  sake;  for  theirs  is  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Blessed  are  ye, 
when  men  shall  revile  you  and  persecute  you,  and  shall  say  all  manner 
of  evil  against  you  untruly,  for  My  sake.  Be  glad  and  rejoice,  for 
your  reward  is  very  great  in  heaven"  (Matt.  v.  11-13).  Those  who 
suffer  great  persecutions  for  the  sake  of  their  faith  are  called  confes 
sors;  those  who  are  put  to  death  for  their  faith  are  called  martyrs. 
A  martyr  goes  straight  to  heaven  at  his  death,  without  passing 
•through  purgatory.  "  We  should  be  doing  injustice  to  a  martyr," 
says  Pope  Innocent  III.,  "  if  we  were  to  pray  for  him."  A  martyr 
possesses  the  love  of  God  in  the  highest  degree,  since  he  despises  life, 
the  greatest  of  all  earthly  goods,  for  God's  sake.  Every  martyr  is  a 
conqueror,  and  is  therefore  depicted  with  a  palm  in  his  hand,  since  the 
palm  is  the  mark  of  victory.  Yet  no  one  is  bound  purposely  to  seek 
after  persecution  or  a  martyr's  death.  Any  one  who  does  so  without 
an  express  inspiration  from  almighty  God,  is  almost  sure  to  yield  to 
the  persecutors.  Nor  is  it  forbidden  to  flee  from  persecution.  "When 
they  shall  persecute  you  in  one  city,"  says  Our  Lord  (Matt.  x.  23), 
<(  flee  into  another."  Our  Lord  Himself  fled  before  persecution  (John 

104  Faith 

xi.  53-54).  So  did  the  apostles  and  many  of  the  saints,  e.g.,  St. 
Cyprian  and  St.  Athanasius.  Yet  the  pastors  of  souls  must  not  fly 
when  the  good  of  the  faithful  requires  their  presence.  "  The  hire 
ling  fleeth,  because  he  is  a  hireling,"  says  Our  Lord,  "  and  careth  not 
for  the  sheep"  (John  x.  13).  Yet  they  may  fly  if  their  presence  is 
not  required,  or  if  it  seems  likely  to  give  rise  to  fresh  persecutions. 
The  heretic  who  dies  for  his  heresy  is  no  true  martyr,  for  St.  Paul 
tells  us  that  if  we  give  our  body  to  be  burned,  and  have  not  charity, 
it  profits  us  nothing  (1  Cor.  xiii.  3).  John  IIuss,  who  was  burned  at 
Prague  in  1415,  rather  ^han  give  up  his  heresy,  was  no  martyr,  nor 
were  Craiimer,  Ridley,  nor  Latimer,  who  were  burned  at  Oxford  in 
the  reign  of  Queen  Mary.  A  man  is  a  true  martyr  who  receives  a 
grievous  wound  for  the  sake  of  the  faith  and  afterwards  dies  from  the 
effects  of  it.  So,  too,  are  those  who  suffer  imprisonment  for  life  for 
their  faith,  or  who  die  in  defence  of  some  Christian  virtue  or  some 
law  of  the  Church.  Thus  St.  John  Nepomucene,  who  was  put  to 
death  because  he  would  not  violate  the  seal  of  confession,  and  St. 
John  the  Baptist,  whose  death  was  the  result  of  his  defence  of  the 
law  of  purity,  were  true  martyrs.  The  whole  number  of  the  martyrs 
has  been  estimated  at  sixteen  millions. 

The  man  who  denies  his  religion  through  fear  or  shame, 
or  apostatizes  from  the  faith,  is  under  sentence  of  eternal  dam 
nation,  for  Christ  says,  "  He  that  shall  deny  Me  before  men, 
him  I  will  also  deny  before  My  Father  Who  is  in  heaven  "  (Matt, 
x.  33),  and  again,  "  He  that  shall  be  ashamed  of  Me  and  of  My 
word,  of  him  the  Son  of  man  shall  be  ashamed,  when  He  cometh 
in  His  majesty  and  that  of  His  Father  and  the  holy  angels  " 
(Luke  ix.  26). 

He  who  denies  the  faith  denies  Christ  Himself.  In  the  times  of 
persecution  there  were  many  who  denied  their  faith.  Even  now  there 
are  some  who,  through  fear  of  worldly  loss  or  of  being  dismissed 
from  their  employment,  deny  their  religion.  Others  from  the  same 
motives,  though  they  do  not  explicitly  deny  that  they  are  Catholics, 
yet  do  so  implicitly  by  attending  and  taking  part  in  the  services  of  a 
false  religion,  or  by  being  married  in  a  Protestant  church,  or  by  a 
merely  civil  marriage,  or  by  taking  Protestants  for  the  godfathers  or 
godmothers  of  their  children,  or  by  allowing  their  children  to  be 
brought  up  in  a  false  religion.  (But  there  is  no  sin  in  attending  a 
Protestant  funeral  or  marriage  out  of  courtesy,  so  long  as  no  part  is 
taken  in  the  service.)  Others  again,  though  they  do  not  deny  their* 
religion,  are  ashamed  of  it,  because  in  many  countries  it  is  the 
religion  of  the  poor,  or  because  Catholics  are  not  allowed  to  believe 
what  they  like.  Those  who  deny  or  conceal  their  religion  out  of 
human  respect  are  only  despised  by  non-Catholics.  The  Emperor 
Constantius,  father  of  Constantine  the  Great,  once  ordered  all  those 
of  his  servants  whom  he  knew  were  Christians  to  sacrifice  to  the 
false  gods.  Those  who  obeyed  he  dismissed  from  his  service,  those 
who  refused  he  promoted  to  the  places  of  those  he  sent  away.  He 
who  apostatizes  from  the  faith  is  even  worse  than  he  who  denies  it 
from  worldly  motives.  Solomon,  whom  God  had  filled  with  divine 

The  Sign  of  Hie  Cross.  105 

wisdom,  in  his  old  age  was  persuaded  by  his  heathen  wives  to  apos 
tatize  from  the  true  religion  and  to  worship  their  false  gods.  The 
Emperor  Julian  the  Apostate  fell  away  from  the  Christian  religion 
and  became  a  cruel  persecutor.  In  the  present  day  it  too  often  hap 
pens  that  Catholics  give  up  their  faith  through  motives  of  worldly 
interest,  or  because  they  want  to  marry  a  Protestant,  or  sometimes 
because  they  quarrel  with  the  priest.  A  vicious  and  sinful  life  often 
prepares  the  way  for  an  apostasy.  No  good  man,  from  the  time  of 
Our  Lord  fill  now,  has  ever  fallen  away  from  the  Catholic  faith. 
The  tree  must  be  rotten  within  before  it  is  blown  down  by  the 
wind;  the  wind  does  not  scatter  the  grains  of  corn,  but  the  empty 
husks.  He  who  apostatizes  crucifies  the  Son  of  God  afresh.  He 
commits  a  sin  almost  unpardonable;  he  ceases  to  belong  to  the 
Church,  and  can  no  longer  call  God  his  Father,  for  as  St.  Cyprian 
says,  "  He  cannot  have  God  for  his  Father  who  has  not  the  Church  as 
his  Mother."  The  Catholic  must  therefore  keep  far  away  from  all 
occasions  which  could  endanger  his  faith,  for  "  he  who  loses  his  goods 
loses  much;  he  who  loses  his  life  loses  more;  but  he  who  loses  his 
faith  loses  all." 


The  Catholic  makes  confession  of  his  faith  most  especially 
by  the  sign  of  the  holy  cross. 

By  it  he  lets  men  know  that  he  makes  profession  of  belonging 
to  the  religion  of  the  crucified  Saviour.  To  Jews  and  Turks  the  cross 
is  an  object  of  hatred  and  contempt;  Protestants,  too,  pay  no  honor 
to  the  holy  cross,  though  there  are  indeed  some  of  them  who,  in  the 
present  day,  have  learned  the  practice  from  the  children  of  the 
Church.  The  sign  of  the  cross  is  thus  the  peculiar  property  of 
Catholics  all  the  world  over.  It  is  a  custom  so  ancient  that  it  is  gen 
erally  believed  to  have  been  introduced  by  the  apostles.  The  sign 
of  the  cross  is  made  by  touching  with  the  outstretched  fingers  of  the 
right  hand  first  the  forehead,  then  the  centre  of  the  breast,  then  the 
left,  and  finally  the  right  shoulder,  saying  meanwhile  the  words,  "  In 
the  name  of  the  Father  [touch  forehead],  and  of  the  Son  [touch 
breast],  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost  [touch  left  and  right  shoulders], 
Amen."  There  is  also  another  way  of  making  the  sign  of  the  cross, 
by  making  three  crosses  with  the  thumb  of  the  right  hand  on  the 
forehead,  lips,  and  breast  successively,  repeating  the  above  words,  so 
that  each  of  the  three  crosses  is  made  simultaneously  with  the  name 
of  one  of  the  three  persons  of  the  Blessed  Trinity.  In  making  the 
sign  of  the  cross  the  left  hand  should  be  laid  across  the  breast,  and 
the  sign  should  be  made  deliberately — not  hurriedly,  as  is  too  often 

1.  In  making  the  sign  of  the  cross  we  make  profession  of  the 
most  important  of  all  the  mysteries  of  our  holy  religion,  viz.,  the 
doctrine  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  and  of  the  Incarnation  of  Our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ. 

By  uniting  all  the  three  persons,  Father,   Son,   and   Holy 

106  Faith-. 

Ghost,  under  one  name,  we  make  profession  of  onr  belief  in  the 
unity  of  God. 

The  "  name  "  of  God  indicates  His  authority  and  power,  and  that 
we  act  under  His  commission  (Mark  xvi.  17;  Acts  iii.  16,  17;  iv.  10). 

In  making  the  sign  of  the  cross,  we  make  profession  of  our 
belief  in  the  Blessed  Trinity  by  the  words  "  In  the  name  of  the 
Father,  and  of  the  Son  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost." 

In  making  the  sign  of  the  cross,  by  the  very  form  of  the  cross 
which  we  make  upon  ourselves,  we  make  profession  that  the  Son 
of  God  died  for  us  upon  the  cross. 

Thus  we  see  that  in  the  sign  of  the  cross  we  have  a  short  sum 
mary  of  the  whole  Catholic  faith.  The  Catholic  Church  holds  the 
sign  of  the  cross  in  great  honor.  It  is  repeated  over  and  over  again 
in  holy  Mass,  in  all  the  sacraments,  in  all  blessings  and  consecra 
tions  ;  the  cross  is  placed  on  our  churches,  over  our  altars,  on  banners, 
on  sacred  vestments,  and  over  the  graves  of  the  departed.  Churches 
are  built  in  the  form  of  a  cross. 

2.  By  means  of  the  sign  of  the  cross  we  obtain  a  blessing  from 
God ;  and  especially  by  it  are  we  protected  from  the  assaults  of  the 
devil  and  from  all  dangers  both  to  body  and  to  soul. 

The  sign  of  the  cross  is  no  empty  ceremony,  but  it  is  of  itself  a 
blessing,  and  a  prayer  for  a  blessing  from  God.  The  sign  of  the  cross 
chases  away  the  devil  and  his  temptations ;  as  the  dog  fears  the  whip 
with  which  he  has  been  beaten,  so  the  evil  one  dreads  the  sign  of  the 
cross,  for  it  reminds  him  of  the  holy  cross  by  which  he  was  van 
quished  on  Calvary.  There  was  once  a  stag  which  bore  between  its 
antlers  a  tablet  on  which  were  written  in  golden  letters  the  words, 
"  I  belong  to  the  emperor,  hurt  me  not."  No  huntsman  ventured  tr 
shoot  this  stag.  So  whenever  we  make  the  sign  of  the  cross,  we  beat 
the  inscription,  "  I  belong  to  Jesus  Christ,"  and  this  protects  us  from 
our  enemy,  the  devil.  In  war  no  one  ventures  to  injure  those  who 
wear  on  their  arm  a  band  of  white  to  indicate  that  they  are  physi 
cians,  or  nurses,  or  ministers  of  religion;  so  the  devil  does  not  dare 
attack  those  who  are  signed  with  the  holy  sign  of  the  cross.  "  The 
sign  of  the  cross,"  says  St.  John  Damascene,  "  is  a  seal,  at  the  sight 
of  which  the  destroying  angel  passes  on,  and  does  us  no  harm."  The 
brazen  serpent  fastened  on  a  pole  in  the  desert  was  an  image  of  the 
cross  of  Christ  (Numb.  xxi. ;  John  iii.  14),  and  protected  all  who 
looked  upon  it  from  being  bitten  by  the  fiery  serpents ;  so  the  sign  of 
the  cross  recalls  to  our  minds  the  cross  of  Christ,  and  protects  us 
from  the  snares  of  that  old  serpent,  the  devil.  In  the  year  312,  Con- 
stantine  the  Great,  with  his  whole  army,  saw  a  cross  of  light  in  the 
sky,  and  upon  it  the  words :  "  In  this  sign  thou  shalt  conquer." 
These  words  are  also  true  of  the  sign  of  the  cross.  "  Even  to  remember 
the  cross  of  Christ,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "puts  our  hellish  foe  to 
flight,  and  give  us  strength  to  resist  his  temptations."  Many  of  the 
saints  used  to  make  the  sign  of  the  cross  whenever  any  evil  thoughts 
assailed  them.  In  the  times  of  persecution  the  heathen  gods  often 

The  Sign  of  the  Cross.  10? 

fell  prostrate  to  the  ground  at  the  sign  of  the  cross.  On  the  occasion 
of  the  finding  of  the  holy  cross  by  St.  Helena,  a  woman  who  was 
blind  was  restored  to  sight  by  merely  touching  it.  The  sign  of  the 
cross  often  frees  men  from  bodily  evils  also.  Many  of  the  holy  mar 
tyrs,  on  making  the  sign  of  the  cross,  felt  no  more  pain  in  their  tor 
ments.  St.  John  the  Divine  once  had  a  cup  with  a  poisoned  draught 
put  into  his  hand  to  drink.  He  made  the  sign  of  the  cross  over  it,  and 
then  drank  it  without  receiving  any  harm  from  it.  Something  similar 
happened  also  to  St.  Benedict.  In  the  Old  Testament  we  find  an  allu 
sion  to  the  sign  of  the  cross  in  the  letter  Thau,  mentioned  by  the 
prophet  Ezechiel.  God  sent  destruction  upon  the  inhabitants  of  Jeru 
salem  on  account  of  the  abominations  committed  there ;  but  an  angel 
was  previously  commanded  to  mark  the  sign  Thau  upon  the  foreheads 
of  all  those  who  mourned  and  lamented  on  account  of  the  sins  of  the 
city  (Ezech.  ix.  4-6). 

We  should  often  make  the  sign  of  the  cross,  especially  when 
we  rise  in  the  morning  and  when  we  retire  to  rest,  before  and 
after  our  prayers,  before  and  after  our  meals,  whenever  we  are 
tempted  to  sin,  and  when  we  have  any  important  duty  to  per 

We  should  make  the  sign  of  the  cross  in  the  morning  in  order 
to  obtain  the  blessing  of  God  on  the  day;  in  the  evening  to  ask  for 
His  protection  during  the  night;  before  all  important  undertakings, 
that  they  may  turn  out  well ;  before  our  prayers,  in  order  that  we  may 
not  be  distracted  in  saying  them,  etc.  The  early  Christians  made  con 
tinual  use  of  the  sign  of  the  cross.  Tertullian  (A.D.  240)  says,  "  At  the 
beginning  and  during  the  performance  of  all  that  we  do,  when  we 
go  in  and  out  of  the  house,  when  we  dress  ourselves,  when  we  lie  down 
to  rest,  in  fact  in  everything,  we  mark  ourselves  on  the  forehead  with 
the  sign  of  the  cross."  The  sign  of  the  cross  should  also  be  made  dur 
ing  holy  Mass;  at  the  beginning,  at  the  absolution  which  the  priest 
gives  at  the  foot  of  the  altar,  at  the  Gospel,  at  the  Consecration,  and 
at  the  priest's  blessing  at  the  end  of  Mass.  St.  Edith,  the  daughter 
of  the  King  of  England,  often  made  the  sign  of  the  cross  with  her 
thumb  upon  her  forehead ;  thirteen  years  after  her  death  her  thumb 
remained  quite  incorrupt.  Each  time  we  make  the  sign  of  the  cross 
with  contrite  hearts,  we  gain  an  indulgence  of  fifty  days  (Pius  IX., 
July  28,  1863). 

When  we  make  the  sign  of  the  cross,  we  should,  if  possible, 
make  it  with  holy  water. 

Holy  water  has  a  special  power  to  defend  us  against  all  attacks 
of  the  devil.  When  we  make  the  sign  of  the  cross  with  holy  water, 
we  gain  each  time  an  indulgence  of  one  hundred  days  (Pius  IX., 
March  23,  1876).  Holy  water  is  placed  at  the  doors  of  our  churches, 
and  should  be  placed  at  the  door  of  our  rooms.  We  must  never  be 
ashamed  of  the  sign  of  the  cross,  lest  Christ  be  ashamed  of  us.  The 
devil  rejoices  when  he  sees  any  one  neglect  to  make  the  sign  of  the 
cross,  for  he  knows  that  the  cross  is  his  destruction  and  a  sign  of  vic 
tory  over  his  temptations. 

108  Faith. 


Besides  the  Apostles'  Creed,  which  is  repeated  at  Baptism,  there  is 
also  the  Nicene  Creed  (composed  at  the  Council  of  Nicaaa,  325), 
and  enlarged  at  the  Council  of  Constantinople.  Also  the  Creed  of 
Pope  Pius  IV.,  which  contains  the  teaching  of  the  Council  of  Trent, 
and  was  published  by  the  authority  of  Pope  Pius  IV.  in  1564.  Some 
additions  have  been  made  to  it  by  the  Vatican  Council  (1870).  The 
Nieene  Creed  is  repeated  on  certain  days  by  the  priest  in  holy  Mass, 
and  the  Creed  of  Pope  Pius  IV.  has  to  be  repeated  by  a  convert 
when  he  is  received  into  the  Church,  and  also  by  parish  priests  when 
they  enter  on  their  benefices. 

1.  The  Apostles'  Creed  contains  in  brief. all  that  a  Catholic 
must  know  and  believe. 

In  its  few  words  are  contained  all  the  mysteries  of  the  faith. 
It  is  like  the  body  of  a  child  which  contains  the  limbs  of  a  full- 
grown  man,  or  like  a  seed  that  contains  the  tree  with  all  its  branches. 
It  is  called  in  Latin  the  symbolum,  or  distinguishing  mark,  because 
in  early  days  the  recital  of  it  was  the  mark  by  which  a  man  was 
recognized  as  a  Christian.  No  one  was  admitted  to  be  present  at  holy 
Mass  unless  he  knew  it  by  heart.  It  could  not  be  divulged  to  any  un- 
baptized  person.  It  is  called  the  symbolum,  as  being  the  watchword 
of  the  Christian  warfare. 

The  Apostles'  Creed  is  so  called  because  it  originated  with 
the  apostles. 

The  holy  apostles,  before  they  separated  from  one  another,  estab 
lished  a  certain  and  fixed  rule  of  their  teaching,  so  that  it  might  be 
the  same  in  all  the  different  countries  where  they  preached.  Yet  it 
is  only  the  outlines  of  the  Apostles'  Creed  that  date  from  the  apostles 
themselves.  Between  their  time  'and  the  year  600  a  number  of  new 
clauses  were  added,  in  order  to  meet  various  heresies.  Thus  the 
words  "  Creator  of  heaven  and  earth  "  were  added  to  meet  the  Mani- 
chean  doctrine  that  the  world  was  created  by  the  principle  of  evil; 
the  word  Catholic  was  added  to  distinguish  the  Church  from  the  sects 
around  her,  etc.  The  influence  of  St.  Peter  in  drawing  up  the 
Creed  appears  from  the  fact  that  the  principles  which  are  developed 
in  his  speeches  as  recorded  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles,  are  those 
which  are  found  in  the  Creed.  It  was  required  before  Baptism  as 
an  evidence  of  fitness  for  the  reception  of  that  sacrament. 

2.  The  Apostles'  Creed  may  be  divided  into .  three  several 

The  first  part  treats  of  God  the  Father  and  of  creation. 

The  second  part  treats  of  God  the  Son  and  of  our  redemp 

The  third  part  treats  of  God  the  Holy  Ghost  and  of  our 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  109 

3.  The  Apostles'  Creed  may  also  be  divided  into  twelve  articles. 

An  article  is  a  member  belonging  to  the  whole,  as  a  limb  belongs 
to  the  whole  body.  The  articles  of  the  Creed  are  so  called  because 
of  their  inseparable  connection  with  one  another.  As  you  cannot 
take  away  one  of  the  links  of  a  chain  without  the  chain  being 
broken,  so  you  cannot  take  away  one  of  the  articles  of  the  Creed 
without  faith  being  destroyed.  There  are  various  images  in  the  Old 
Testament  of  the  twelve  articles  of  the  Creed,  e.g.,  the  twelve  precious 
stones  on  the  breastplate  of  the  high  priest  (Exod.  xxviii.  17-21), 
and  the  twelve  loaves  of  proposition  (Lev.  xxiv.  6).  The  articles 
of  the  Creed  which  we  should  wear  on  our  breast,  i.e.,  should  believe 
and  confess,  should  be  like  the  stones  in  the  high  priest's  breastplate : 
shining  and  spreading  light  around. 

The  number  of  the  articles  of  the  Creed  is  the  same  as  that 
of  the  apostles  of  Our  Lord,  and  is  intended  to  remind  us  that 
they  contain  the  doctrine  taught  by  the  twelve  apostles. 

Every  Christian  should  know  the  Creed  by  heart.  It  should  be 
repeated  every  day  at  our  prayers,  by  way  of  renewing  and  strength 
ening  our  faith,  and  of  confirming  the  covenant  we  entered  on  with 
God  at  our  Baptism.  It  is  the  shield  of  faith,  by  the  repetition  of 
which  we  can  extinguish  all  the  fiery  darts  of  the  most  wicked  one 
(Eph.  vi.  16). 



1.  We  can  infer  from  the  created  world  around  us  that  there 
exists  a  supreme  Being. 

We  cannot  see  the  souls  of  men,  but  we  can  infer  their  existence 
by  a  process  of  reasoning;  so  it  is  with  the  existence  of  God. 

The  heavens  and  the  earth  could  not  have  come  into  exist 
ence  of  themselves;  nor  could  the  heavenly  bodies  move  through 
space  by  their  own  power. 

We  infer,  when  we  see  footprints  in  the  snow,  that  some  one  has 
passed  that  way;  so  we  infer  from  the  things  around  us  that  there 
exists  a  supreme  Being.  The  planets  could  no  more  have  come  into  ex 
istence  of  themselves  than  a  town  could  be  built  of  itself.  The 
astronomer  Kirchner  had  a  friend  who  doubted  the  existence  of 
God.  He  had  a  globe  made  and  placed  in  his  study.  His  friend 
came  to  see  him  one  day  and  asked  where  the  globe  came  from. 
Kirchner  answered  that  it  made  itself.  When  his  friend  laughed  at 
such  an  answer,  Kirchner  replied,  "  It  would  be  much  easier  for  a 
little  globe  like  that  to  make  itself  than  the  great  one  on  which  we 
live."  A  light  cannot  kindle  itself,  and  after  it  is  kindled  it  will  go 
out  in  a  few  hours.  But  the  heavens  are  lighted  by  the  glorious  light 
of  the  sun,  which  has  burned  for  many  thousands  of  years  without 

110  Faith. 

losing  any  of  its  brightness.  Look  at  the  millions  of  the  stars.  Who 
made  them  all,  and  caused  them  to  illumine  the  night  ?  The 
Psalmist  truly  says  "  The  heavens  declare  the  glory  of  God,  and  the 
firmament  shows  forth  the  work  of  His  hands"  (Ps.  xviii.  2). 
The  great  astronomer  Newton  used  always  to  uncover  and  bow  his 
head  when  the  name  of  God  was  mentioned.  We  may  also  infer  the 
existence  of  God  from  the  creatures  on  the  earth.  Thus  Job  says 
"  Ask  now  the  beasts  and  they  shall  teach  thee ;  and  the  birds  of  the 
air,  and  they  shall  tell  thee.  Speak  to  the  earth  and  it  shall 
answer  thee;  and  the  fishes  of  the  sea  shall  tell.  Who  is  igno 
rant  that  the  hand  of  the  Lord  hath  made  all  these  things  ? "  (Job 
xii.  7-9.)  If  any  one  were  to  find  a  beautiful  marble  statue  on  a 
desert  island,  he  would  say  without  any  hesitation  that  men  had  been 
there.  If  one  were  to  say  that  the  wind  and  rain  had  torn  it 
from  the  mountain  side,  and  given  it  its  form,  we  should  count  him 
as  a  fool.  A  greater  fool  is  he  who  asserts  that  this  wondrous  world 
had  no  Creator. 

The  wonderful  arrangement  and  order  of  the  world  also 
leads  us  to  infer  that  it  has  been  framed  by  an  Architect  of  sur 
passing  skill. 

If  a  ship  sails  on  its  way  and  arrives  safely  at  its  destination, 
we  conclude  that  it  had  a  clever  pilot.  To  say  that  the  stars  of  the 
heaven  of  themselves  direct  their  course,  is  as  foolish  as  it  would  be  to 
say  that  a  ship  had  started  from  New  York,  sailed  round  the  world, 
and  returned  safely  without  any  one  to  guide  it.  Cicero  said  long 
ago,  "  When  we  contemplate  the  heavens,  we  arrive  at  the  conviction 
that  they  are  all  guided  by  a  Being  of  surpassing  skill."  In  all  that 
is  upon  the  earth  we  see  traces  of  design  and  of  a  most  wise  Designer 
— in  the  construction  of  the  bodies  of  animals,  and  of  the  bodies  of 
men,  in  the  -succession  of  the  seasons,  in  trees  and  plants.  The  adap 
tation  of  means  to  ends  in  the  human  eye,  the  ear,  and  the  various 
parts  of  the  body,  all  imply  an  adapting  intelligence,  just  as  the  adap 
tation  of  a  watch  to  indicate  the  time,  or  the  building  of  a  house  to 
shelter  us,  implies  an  intelligent  constructor.  As  it  would  be  impos 
sible  that  the  letters  of  the  alphabet  should  be  grouped  together  by 
mere  chance  in  the  order  of  the  "  Iliad,"  so  it  is  impossible  that  the 
arrangements  of  the  universe  could  have  come  about  by  chance, 
and  without  the  knowledge  and  direction  of  a  mighty  intelligence. 

All  the  nations  of  the  earth  have  an  inner  conviction  of  the 
existence  of  a  supreme  Being. 

Among  all  nations,  even  the  most  degraded,  we  find  invariably  the 
worship  of  some  kind  of  deity.  We  find  towns  without  walls,  without 
a  ruler,  without  laws,  without  coin,  but  never  without  some  sort  of 
temple,  without  prayer,  without  sacrifice.  Now,  universal  consent  is  a 
mark  of  truth.  The  belief  in  God  is  an  inner  conviction,  which  may 
be  said  to  be  inborn,  inasmuch  as  every  one  can  arrive  at  it  with  the. 
greatest  ease. 

Only  the  fool  says  in  his  heart:   there  is  no  God  (Ps.  xiii.  1). 
Those  who  say  that  there  is  no  God  in  spite  of  the  glories  of 

TJie  Apostles'  Creed.  Ill 

creation  which  they  see  around  them,  are  those  of  whom  Our  Lord 
says  that  "  seeing  they  perceive  not,  and -hearing  they  do  not  under 
stand  "  (Mark  iv.  12).  Such  men  are  called  atheists  or  infidels. 
They  are  invariably  men  who  either  are  eaten  up  with  pride  or  live 
vicious  lives,  or  both.  "  He  who  denies  the  existence  of  God,"  says 
St.  Augustine,  "  has  some  reason  for  wishing  that  God  did  not  exist." 
Atheists,  for  the  most  part,  use  language  which  is  at  variance  with 
their  real  convictions.  Many  of  them  are  the  first  to  cry  to  God  for 
help  when  they  are  in  some  imminent  danger.  Their  bold  talk  means 
very  little.  They  are  like  boys  who  whistle  in  the  dark  to  show  that 
they  are  not  afraid.  God  will  take  atheists  at  their  word  one  day 
and  will  show  Himself  no  loving  God  for  them.  So  He  took  at  their 
word  those  of  the  Israelites  who  doubted  His  power  to  give  them 
victory  over  their  enemies  and  possession  of  the  Promised  Land. 
They  died  before  they  entered  it  (Numb.  xiv.  28-32). 

2.  The  existence  of  God  is  also  proved  from  revelation. 

God  has  at  sundry  times  and  in  divers  manners  spoken  to  men 
(Heb.  i.  1),  and  has  given  them  a  knowledge  of  Himself.  To  Moses 
He  appeared  in  the  burning  bush,  and  called  Himself  the  God  of 
Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob;  to  distinguish  Himself  from  the  false 
gods,  He  gives  to  Himself  the  name  of  "  the  self -existent  One,"  or  "  I 
am  Who  am  "  (Exod.  iii.  14).  So  in  giving  the  law  on  Sinai  He  says, 
"  I  am  the  Lord  your  God.  Thou  shalt  have  none  other  gods  beside 
Me"  (Deut.  v.  6,  7).  God  also  worked  miracles  at  various  times  in 
proof  of  His  existence,  e.g.,  by  sending  down  fire  from  heaven  to  con 
sume  the  sacrifice  of  Elias  on  Carmel  (3  Kings  xviii.  24,  seq.),  by 
saving  Daniel  from  the  lions  at  Babylon,  and  the  three  young  men 
from  the  fiery  furnace. 


What  God  is  in  His  divine  nature  or  essence  is  known  to  us 
partly  from  created  things,  but  more  clearly  from  His  revelation 
of  Himself. 

St.  Paul  tells  us  that,  "  The  invisible  things  of  God  from  the  crea 
tion  of  the  world  are  clearly  seen,  being  understood  by  the  things  that 
are  made"  (Eom.  i.  20).  Creation  is  a  sort  of  mirror  that  reflects 
the  divine  perfections ;  thus  from  the  beauty  of  things  created  we  can 
infer  the  greater  beauty  of  Him  Who  created  them  (Wisd.  xiii.  1). 
So  again  from  the  order  that  prevails  in  the  visible  world  we  can  con 
clude  that  He  Who  made  it  is  a  Being  of  surpassing  wisdom,  and 
from  its  vastness  we  learn  the  power  of  Him  Who  upholds  and  sup 
ports  it.  Yet  the  knowledge  thus  obtained  is  always  imperfect  and 
obscure.  From  a  beautiful  picture  we  do  not  learn  much  about  the 
character  of  the  painter.  In  creatures  we  see  God  only  as  through  a 
glass  and  in  a  dark  manner  (1  Cor.  xiii.  12).  The  heathens,  before 
the  coming  of  Christ,  were  sunk  in  the  grossest  vices,  and  this  dark 
ened  their  intellect  and  rendered  them  still  less  able  to  arrive  at  a 
knowledge  of  God  from  His  works  (Wisd.  ix.  16).  In  order  to  en 
lighten  this  ignorance  God  revealed  Himself  to  men,  speaking  to 

112  Faith. 

them  by  the  mouth  of  the  patriarchs  and  prophets,  and  above  all  by 
the  mouth  of  His  Son,  Jesus  Christ  (Heb.  i.  1,  2).  It  was  Christ 
Who  gave  to  men  the  clearest  manifestation  of  the  nature  of  God; 
all  the  rest  spoke  somewhat  obscurely,  for  none  of  them  had  seen  God 
face  to  face. 

Even  since  God's  revelation  of  Himself,  man  is  not  capable 
of  a  thorough  or  complete  knowledge  of  the  nature  of  God;  the 
reason  of  this  is  that  God  is  infinite,  and  man  is  only  finite. 

Just  as  we  cannot  inclose  a  boundless  ocean  in  a  little  vessel, 
so  we  cannot  take  in  the  infinite  majesty  of  God  with  our  finite  un 
derstanding.  "  Behold,  God  is  great,  exceeding  our  knowledge  "  (Job 
xxxviii.  26).  "The  things  that  are  of  God  no  man  knoweth,  but 
the  Spirit  of  God  "  (1  Cor.  ii.  11).  We  can  neither  express  in  words 
nor  conceive  in  thought  what  God  really  is.  When  the  sage  Simon- 
ides  was  asked  by  Hiero,  King  of  Syracuse,  what  God  is,  he  took  first 
one,  then  two  days  to  consider  the  question;  then  he  requested  four 
days  more;  then  eight;  and  finally  said  to  the  king  that  the  longer 
he  thought  about  the  matter,  the  more  obscure  did  it  become  to  him. 
It  is  easier  to  say  what  God  is  not  than  what  He  is.  He  who  attempts 
to  fathom  the  majesty  of  God  becomes  profane.  It  is  told  of  Icarus 
in  the  old  mythology,  that  he  fastened  wings  to  his  sides  with  wax, 
and  attempted  to  fly  up  to  heaven;  but  when  he  came  too  near  the 
sun,  it  melted  the  wax  and  he  fell  into  the  sea  and  perished.  So 
it  is  with  those  who  seek  to  fathom  the  nature  of  God;  He  casts 
them  down  into  the  sea  of  doubt  and  unbelief.  He  who  gazes  upon 
the  sun  becomes  dazzled;  so  is  it  with  those  who  seek  to  penetrate 
into  the  nature  of  God.  Even  the  angels  veil  their  faces  before  God 
(Ezecb.  i.  23).  The  most  perfect  of  them  cannot  comprehend  His 
majesty.  They  are  like  a  man  who  looks  upon  the  sea  from  some 
high  point ;  he  sees  the  sea,  but  he  does  not  see  the  whole  of  it.  How 
can  we  expect  to  reach  heights  which  even  the  angels  cannot  attain 
to  ? 

We  can  only  give  an  imperfect  and  incomplete  explanation 
of  the  nature  of  God,  viz.: 

1.  God  is  a  self -existent  Being,  infinite  in  His  perfections, 
glory,  and  beatitude,  the  Creator  and  Ruler  of  the  whole  world. 

When  Moses  asked  almighty  God  His  name,  on  the  occasion  of 
His  appearing  in  the  burning  bush,  God  answered,  "  I  am  Who  am  " 
(Exod.  iii.  14)  i.e.,  "  I  exist  of  Myself,  I  derive  My  being  from  My 
self."  All  other  beings  derive  their  existence  from  God,  and  there 
fore  in  comparison  of  Him  are  as  nothing.  Hence  David  says,  "  My 
substance  is  as  nothing  before  Thee  "  (Ps.  xxxviii.  6).  God  also  pos 
sesses  the  highest  perfection.  We  see  how  some  beings  upon  the  earth 
are  more  perfect  than  others.  Some  things  have  only  existence  with 
out  life,  as  stones  and  metals ;  others  have  life,  but  without  sensation, 
as  trees  and  plants;  others  have  sensation  and  movement  as  well, 
as  birds  and  beasts ;  man  has  a  spiritual  life,  with  intellect  and  free 
will.  Above  man  there  are  countless  numbers  of  pure  spirits,  each 
with  a  special  perfection  of  its  own,  and  each  increasing  in  virtue  as 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  113 

it  ascends  towards  the  throne  of  God.  But  they  can  never  arrive  at 
infinite  perfection,  since  the  most  perfect  among  them  can  always  at 
tain  to  some  higher  excellence.  Hence  we  must  believe  in  a  Being 
of  infinite  perfection,  from  Whom  all  other  beings  derive  their  vir 
tues,  Who  possesses  in  Himself,  and  Who  is  infinitely  exalted  beyond, 
all  existing  or  possible  perfections  that  can  be  found  in  all  other 
beings  than  Himself.  Nothing  greater  than  God  can  either  exist  or 
even  be  thought  of.  God  is  also  infinite  in  glory  and  beauty.  For  if 
on  the  earth  there  exist  so  many  beautiful  things,  how  far  greater 
must  be  the  beauty  and  glory  of  God,  since  it  is  He  Who  gave  them 
all  their  beauty.  He  could  not  have  given  it  unless  He  already 
possessed  it.  He  is  like  the  boundless  ocean,  and  the  beauty  of  all 
created  things  is  like  a  series  of  drops  taken  from  the  ocean.  God 
is  also  infinite  in  His  supreme  happiness  or  beatitude.  He  lives  in 
endless  and  infinite  joy;  no  creature  can  interfere  with  the  perfection 
of  His  happiness.  None  can  either  increase  or  diminish  it  (1  Tim.  vi. 
15).  As  the  sun  needs  110  light  from  other  bodies,  because  it  is  itself 
the  light,  so  God  needs  nothing  from  others,  because  He  is  Himself  in 
possession  of  all  good.  We  can  only  give  Him  what  we  have  already 
received  from  Him.  God  is  the  Creator  of  the  whole  world,  of 
heaven,  earth,  and  sea.  He  is  also  the  King  and  Lord  of  all,  and  has 
made  all  things  outside  of  Himself  subject  to  certain  fixed  laws.  The 
earth  is  subject  to  fixed  laws.  It  goes  round  the  sun  in  three  hundred 
and  sixty-five  and  a  quarter  days,  and  revolves  on  its  own  axis  in 
twenty-four  hours.  All  the  heavenly  bodies  move  according  to  fixed 
laws,  so  that  we  can  foretell  eclipses  of  the  sun  and  moon,  etc.; 
there* are  laws  which  regulate  all  the  material  things  on  the  face  of 
the  earth.  Plants,  trees,  and  animals  have  their  growth  and  develop 
ment  governed  by  stated  laws.  The  actions  of  reasonable  beings 
are  also  governed  by  laws,  which,  however,  by  reason  of  their  free 
will,  they  are  able  to  disobey.  The  penalties  for  transgression  are 
laid  down  by  almighty  God.  God  is  the  King  of  kings,  the  eternal 
King  (Tob.  xiii.  6).  The  majesty  of  the  greatest  of  earthly  kings 
is  but  a  feeble  and  faint  reflection  of  the  majesty  of  God.  Hence 
we  are  bound  to  obey  Him,  because  He  is  our  King  and  He  will  have 
all  subject  to  Him,  either  willingly  in  this  life,  or  against  their  will 
to  their  eternal  misery. 

2.  We  cannot  see  God,  because  He  is  a  spirit,  i.e.,  a  being  with 
out  body,  immortal,  possessed  of  intellect  and  free  will. 

Our  Lord  says :  "  God  is  a  spirit,  and  they  that  adore  Him  must 
adore  Him  in  spirit  and  in  truth"  (John  iv.  24).  It  is  because  God 
is  a  spirit  that  the  Jews  were  strictly  forbidden  to  make  any  image  of 
Him  (Exod.  xx.  4).  God  cannot  be  seen  by  man;  there  is  a  veil  be 
tween  us  and  God.  We  cannot  see  the  stars  during  the  day,  but  only 
when  darkness  comes  on.  So  we  cannot  see  God  during  the  day  of  our 
life  on  earth,  but  only  when  the  darkness  of  death  comes  over  us. 
In  this  life  God  is  a  hidden  God  (Is.  xlv.  15).  He  inhabits  the  in 
accessible  light  (1  Tim.  vi.  16). 

Yet  God  has  often  assumed  visible  forms. 
Thus  He  appeared  to  Abraham  as  a  traveller,  at  the  baptism  of 

114  Faith. 

Our  Lord  under  the  form  of  a  dove,  and  in  the  shape  of  tongues  of 
fire  at  Pentecost.  But  the  external  form  under  which  God  appeared 
was  not  God  Himself.  In  the  same  way  we  often  read  of  the  eyes, 
ears,  etc.,  of  God;  but  this  is  only  to  impress  upon  us  the  fact  that 
God  sees  us,  hears  us,  etc. 

3.  There  is  one  God,  and  one  only. 

The  most  perfect  being  in  the  world  must  be  only  one.  The  tall 
est  tree  in  the  wood  is  but  one.  To  say  that  there  are  more  Gods  than 
one  is  like  saying  that  there  can  be  more  than  one  soul  in  a  human 
body,  or  more  than  one  captain  on  a  ship.  Even  the  pagan  Greeks 
and  Romans  honored  one  god  as  supreme  among  the  rest.  The  plu 
rality  of  gods  probably  arose  from  the  plurality  of  the  forces  of 
nature  (such  as  thunder,  lightning,  fire,  etc.),  which  filled  the  be 
holders  with  fear,  and  caused  them  to  adore  these  forces  as  gods.  Or 
it  may  have  arisen  from  the  deification  of  heroes,  or  from  the  power 
of  the  evil  spirits  which,  having  attracted  notice,  caused  them  to  be 
worshipped  as  gods. 


We  ascribe  to  God  various  attributes,  because  the  unity 
of  the  divine  perfection  is  reflected  in  different  ways  in  crea 

The  sun  is  sometimes  red,  sometimes  yellow,  or  a  palish  white. 
It  is  the  mists  around  the  earth  that  cause  the  variety  in  it  as*  it  is 
seen  by  us.  The  attributes  of  God  are  therefore  various  manifesta 
tions  of  God's  one  and  indivisible  perfection  or  essence.  In  God  they 
are  all  one  and  the  same;  His  goodness  is  the  same  as  His  justice,  His 
wisdom  as  His  power,  and  His  power  as  His  eternity,  etc.  The  divine 
attributes  are  also  identical  with  God  Himself ;  God  is  wisdom,  power, 
eternity,  etc.  God  is  a  Being  of  the  most  perfect  and  absolute  sim 
plicity;  there  is  no  sort  of  multiplicity  or  obscurity  in  Him.  There 
is  no  sort  of  division  between  His  attributes;  it  is  from  our  under 
standing  that  the  distinction  between  them  arises.  In  created  things 
it  is  quite  different;  they  possess  attributes  which  are  really  distinct 
from  each  other. 

The  attributes  of  God  may  be  divided  into  those  which  be 
long  to  God's  essence,  those  that  belong  to  His  understanding, 
and  those  that  belong  to  His  will. 

The  attributes  of  the  divine  essence  are  omnipresence,  eternity, 
immutability;  those  that  belong  to  His  understanding  are  omnis 
cience,  perfect  wisdom,  etc. ;  those  that  belong  to  His  will  are  om 
nipotence,  goodness,  holiness,  justice,  truth,  and  faithfulness. 

1.  God  is  eternal,  i.e.,  always  was,  is,  and  ever  will  be. 

God's  words  to  Moses  "I  am  Who  am"  (Exod.  iii.  14),  express 
His  eternity.  There  never  was  a  time  when  God  did  not  exist;  He 
never  began  to  exist.  He  existed  before  the  world,  as  a  builder  must 
exist  before  the  house  that  he  builds,  and  the  watchmaker  before  the 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  115 

watch  that  he  fashions.  God  can  never  cease  to  live,  as  men  do. 
Hence  He  is  called  the  living  God  (Matt.  xvi.  16)  and  immortal 
(1  Tim.  i.  17).  He  existed  before  all  time,  and  He  will  exist  to  all 
eternity.  With  Him  there  is  no  past  or  future;  all  is  present  with 
Him.  The  whole  history  of  the  world  is  and  has  ever  been  in  His 
sight;  there  is  for  Him  no  succession  of  events;  for  Him  there  is 
no  time.  "  One  day  is  with  the  Lord  as  a  thousand  years,  and  a 
thousand  years  as  one  day"  (2  Pet.  iii.  8).  Millions  of  ages  are  as 
nothing  compared  with  eternity.  If  a  bird  were  to  carry  away  from 
the  ocean  one  drop  of  water  every  thousand  years,  the  time  would 
come  when  the  ocean  would  be  dry ;  but  that  immense  period  of  time, 
which  seems  to  us  inexhaustible,  is  less  than  the  shortest  moment 
compared  with  the  eternity  of  God's  existence.  "  Dost  thou  desire 
eternal  joy,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  thou  must  be  faithful  to  Him  Who 
is  the  Eternal." 

2.  God  is  omnipresent,  i.e.,  He  is  in  every  place. 

After  Jacob  had  seen,  in  the  open  country,  the  ladder  reaching 
up  to  heaven,  he  exclaimed,  "  God  is  in  this  place,  and  I  knew  it  not " 
(Gen.  xxviii.  16).  The  same  words  are  true  of  every  place.  God 
is  not  only  present  everywhere  with  His  power,  but  He  Himself  fills 
and  penetrates  all  space.  "  Do  not  I  fill  heaven  and  earth,  saith  the 
Lord?"  (Jer.  xxiii.  24.) 

1.  God  is  everywhere  present,   because   all  created  things 
exist  in  God. 

All  creatures  exist  in  God,  as  thought  exists  in  our  minds.  As 
mind  is  of  more  extent  than  thought,  so  God  is  of  more  extent  than 
the  world  and  all  it  contains.  As  mind  penetrates  thought,  so 
God  penetrates  the  world.  "  In.  Him  we  live,  and  move,  and  exist " 
(Acts  xvii.  28).  God  is  at  the  same  time  quite  distinct  from  crea 
tures  and  from  the  whole  world. 

2.  God  is  not  circumscribed  by  any  place,  nor  by  the  whole 
of  creation,  because  He  has  no  limits,  either  actual  or  possible. 

In  his  prayer  at  the  dedication  of  the  Temple  Solomon  said:  "If 
heaven  and  the  heaven  of  heavens  cannot  contain  Thee,  how  much 
less  this  house  that  I  have  built"  (3  Kings  viii.  27).  The  infinite 
cannot  be  contained  in  measurable  space.  Only  bodies  are  con 
tained  in  space.  Spirits  indeed  are  not  contained  in  space,  but  they 
cannot  be  in  more  than  one  place  at  the  same  time.  "  God  is  every 
where,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "  and  yet  nowhere.  He  is  near  us  and  yet  is 
far  away.  All  creation  is  in  Him,  and  yet  it  is  as  if  He  were  not 
in  it." 

3.  Yet  God  is  of  more  extent  than  space,  and  therefore  can 
be  in  every  place  at  the  same  time. 

Though  God  is  of  more  extent  than  all  space,  and  His  presence 
extends  from  earth  to  heaven  and  far  beyond,  He  is  not  scattered 
over  the  universe,  partly  on  earth  and  partly  in  heaven,  but  He  is 
wholly  everywhere  and  wholly  in  each  separate  place;  wholly  in 
Jieaven  and  wholly  on  earth.  He  fills  heaven  and  earth.  So  the  soul 

116  Faith. 

of  man  fills  his  entire  body,  but  yet  it  is  wholly  in  every  separate  por 
tion  of  His  body. 

4.  God  is  present  in  a  special  manner  in  heaven,  in  the 
Blessed  Sacrament,  and  in  the  souls  of  the  just. 

God  is  present  in  heaven  to  the  gaze  of  the  angels  and  saints. 
He  is  present  as  the  God-man  in  the  Blessed  Sacrament ;  He  is  pres 
ent  in  the  souls  of  men  through  the  Holy  Ghost  Who  is  given  to  them. 
A  king  is  present  in  his  whole  palace,  but  is  specially  present  in  the 
chamber  where  he  sits  on  his  throne,  and  gives  audiences  to  his 

5.  There  is  no  place  where  God  is  not. 

"  The  eyes  of  the  Lord  in  every  place  behold  the  good  and  the 
evil"  (Prov.  xv.  3).  We  sometimes  see  in  churches  a  large  eye 
painted  over  the  altar,  to  remind  us  that  God  is  present  every 
where.  "  No  one  can  hide  himself  from  God "  ( Jer.  xxiii.  23, 
24).  Hence  no  one  can  escape  from  God  (Ps.  cxxxviii.  7,  8).  Jonas 
made  the  attempt,  but  with  very  poor  success.  Hence  learn  to  avoid 
every  sin.  See  with  what  unspeakable  shame  a  man  is  filled,  if  he  is 
detected  by  one  of  his  fellow-men  in  a  despicable  action.  Yet  we  are 
not  ashamed  to  practise  the  most  disgraceful  vices  in  the  presence 
of  God  (St.  Augustine). 

6.  We  ought  therefore  continually  to  bear  in  mind  that  God 
is  always  present  with  us. 

Think,  wherever  you  are,  that  God  is  near  you.  As  there  is  no 
moment  of  time  when  we  are  not  enjoying  some  benefit  from  the 
hand  of  God,  so  there  ought  to  be  no  moment  of  time  when  we  have 
not  God  in  our  thoughts.  "  He  who  always  has  God  in  his  thoughts," 
says  St.  Ephrem,  "  will  become  like  an  angel  on  the  earth." 

The  continual  remembrance  of  the  presence  of  God  is  very 
profitable  to  us.  It  has  great  power  to  deter  us  from  sin,  and  to 
keep  us  in  the  grace  of  God;  it  incites  us  to  good  works  and 
makes  us  intrepid  in  His  service. 

The  remembrance  of  the  presence  of  God  gives  strength  in  nme 
of  temptation  and  holds  us  back  from  sin.  Look  at  Joseph  in  Egypt. 
A  soldier  fights  more  bravely  in  the  presence  of  his  king.  The  re 
membrance  of  the  presence  of  God  is  also  the  best  means  of  remain 
ing  in  the  grace  of  God.  It  is  like  Ariadne's  clew,  by  means  of  which 
we,  like  Theseus,  can  find  the  way  through  the  labyrinth  of  our  life 
on  earth,  and  remain  unscathed  by  the  Minotaur  of  hell.  The  re 
membrance  of  the  presence  of  God  increases  our  zeal  in  God's  serv 
ice  and  leads  us  on  to  the  practice  of  all  the  virtues ;  it  makes  us  more 
careful  in  the  performance  of  all  our  duties.  The  nearer  the  water  is 
to  the  spring  the  purer  it  is ;  the  nearer  one  is  to  the  fire  the  greater 
the  warmth;  the  closer  we  keep  to  God,  the  greater  our  perfection. 
When  the  tree  is  closely  united  to  the  root,  it  brings  forth  plenteous 
fruit.  The  Christian  brings  forth  good  fruit  to  eternal  life  if  he  is 
closely  united  to  God.  The  thought  of  God  also  renders  us  fearless. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  117 

When  the  Empress  Eudoxia  threatened  St.  John  Chrysostom  with 
banishment,  he  answered  "  You  will  not  frighten  me,  unless  you  are 
able  to  send  me  to  some  place  where  God  is  not."  David  says  to  God : 
"  Though  I  walk  in  the  midst  of  the  shadow  of  death,  I  will  fear  no 
evil,  for  Thou  art  with  me  "  (Ps.  xxii.  4).  If  a  timid  man  has  a  com 
panion  with  him,  his  fear  disappears ;  so  we  shall  not  fear  if  God,  the 
all-powerful  God,  is  with  us. 

3.  God  is  immutable,  i.e.,  He  ever  remains  the  same. 

God  never  changes ;  He  never  becomes  better  or  worse ;  He  never 
breaks  His  word  (Numb,  xxiii.  19).  Creation  made  no  change  in 
God;  from  all  eternity  He  had  decreed  the  creation  of  the  universe. 
God  changes  His  works,  but  not  His  eternal  decrees.  By  the  Incar 
nation  humanity  was  changed,  but  the  Godhead  underwent  no  change, 
just  as  the  sun  is  in  no  way  changed  when  it  hides  itself  behind  a 
cloud.  Our  thoughts  are  not  changed  when  they  clothe  themselves  in 
words ;  so  the  divinity  was  not  changed  when  it  clothed  itself  in  the 
nature  of  man.  God  does  not  change  when  He  punishes  the 
sinner.  When  the  heart  of  man  is  in  friendship  with  God,  God 
shows  Himself  to  him  as  a  God  of  infinite  love  and  mercy;  when 
the  heart  is  estranged  from  Him,  the  sinner  sees  in  the  unchange 
able  God  an  angry  and  avenging  judge.  When  the  eye  is  sound, 
the  light  is  pleasant  to  it;  but  if  it  is  diseased,  light  causes  it 
pain :  it  is  not  the  light  that  is  changed,  but  the  eye  that  looks 
upon  it.  When  an  angry  man  looks  in  the  glass  he  sees  a  differ 
ent  reflection  from  that  which  he  saw  when  he  was  cheerful  and 
in  good-humor;  it  is  not  the  glass  that  has  changed,  but  the 
man.  When  the  sun  shines  through  colored  glass,  its  rays  take 
the  color  of  the  glass;  the  sun  does  not  change,  but  the  light  is 
changed  by  the  medium  through  which  it  passes.  So  when  God  re 
wards,  it  is  not  God  Who  changes,  but  man,  who  performs  different 
and  better  actions,  thereby  meriting  the  grace  of  God.  When  in 
Scripture  we  read  that  God  repented  of  having  made  man,  that  God 
is  angry  with  the  wicked,  the  phrases  used  are  accommodated  to  our 
imperfect  comprehension. 

4.  God  is  omniscient,  i.e.,  He  knows  all  things,  the  past,  the 
present,  and  the  future,  and  also  our  inmost  thoughts  (Jer.  xvii. 

God  knew  that  Adam  and  Eve  had  eaten  of  the  forbidden  fruit. 
Our  Lord  foreknew  St.  Peter's  denial,  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem, 
etc.  He  knew  the  thoughts  of  Simon  the  Pharisee,  and  that  he  was 
angry  at  Our  Lord  showing  such  kindness  to  Magdalen  the  sinner. 
God  sees  as  in  a  glass  all  men,  and  their  every  action  (Ps.  xxxii.  13). 
"  He  that  planted  the  ear  shall  He  not  hear  ?  He  that  made  the  eye 
shall  He  not  see  ? "  (Ps.  xciii.  9.)  God  also  foresees  evil,  but  man  is 
not  thereby  constrained  to  do  evil.  It  is  just  as  if  we  see  from  a  dis 
tance  a  man  who  is  committing  some  crime.  God  sees  the  deed  be 
cause  the  man  does  it;  the  man  does  not  do  it  because  God  sees  it. 
When  some  past  action  is  present  to  our  thoughts,  it  did  not  happen 
because  it  is  in  our  thoughts ;  so  when  God  foresees  some  future  ac 
tion,  it  does  not  happen  because  God  has  foreseen  it,  but  He  has  fore- 

118  faith. 

seen  it  because  the  man  is  going  to  commit  it — the  man  is  not  com 
pelled  to  commit  because  God  has  foreseen  it.  When  God  foresees 
that  some  man  will  be  lost  forever,  God's  foreknowledge  is  not  the 
cause  of  the  man's  damnation.  The  physician  foresees  the  approach 
ing  death  of  his  patient,  but  his  knowledge  is  not  the  cause  of  the 
man's  death.  The  learned  Franciscan  Duns  Scotus,  once  heard  a 
farmer  uttering  terrible  curses  and  begged  him  not  to  damn  his  soul 
so  thoughtlessly.  The  farmer  answered :  "  God  knows  everything. 
He  knows  whether  I  shall  go  to  heaven  or  to  hell.  If  He  knows  that 
I  shall  go  to  heaven,  why  to  heaven  I  shall  go;  if  He  knows  that  I 
shall  go  to  hell,  I  shall  go  to  Lell.  What,  ihen,  does  it  matter  what 
I  do  or  say  ? "  The  priest  answered,  "  In  that  case  why  plough  your 
fields  ?  God  knows  whether  they  will  bear  a  good  crop  or  not.  If  He 
knows  that  they  will  bear  a  good  harvest,  the  harvest  will  be  good, 
whether  you  plough  the  land  or  not.  If  He  knows  that  they  will  be 
unfruitful,  why  unfruitful  they  will  be.  Why  then  should  you  waste 
your  time  in  ploughing  ? "  Then  the  farmer  understood  that  it  is 
not  the  omniscience  of  God,  but  the  free  action  of  man,  that  deter 
mines  both  our  temporal  and  our  eternal  happiness  or  misery. 

God  also  knows  what  would  have  happened  under  certain 
given  circumstances;  this  is  the  reason  why  He  sends  us  trials, 
in  order  to  prevent  greater  evils  that  otherwise  would  have  hap 
pened  to  us. 

Thus  Our  Lord  knew  that  the  inhabitants  of  Tyre  and  Sidon 
would  have  done  penance  if  such  wonders  had  been  worked  among 
them  as  He  worked  in  Corozain  and  Bethsaida.  God  foresees  that 
some  of  the  just  will  be  led  astray  by  the  seductions  of  the  world, 
and  sometimes  in  His  mercy  takes  them  at  an  early  age  to  Him 
self.  He  foresees  that  some  will  be  ruined  by  riches  or  by  prosperity, 
and  therefore  brings  them  to  poverty  and  to  earthly  misfortune. 
This  ought  to  make  us  bear  our  troubles  with  patience.  The  trials 
of  the  just  are  an  opportunity  offered  them  to  advance  in  virtue. 

God,  Who  knows  all  things,  will  one  day  bring  all  hidden 
things  to  light. 

Our  Lord  says,  "  There  is  nothing  hidden  that  shall  not  be  made 
manifest ;  or  secret  that  shall  not  be  known  and  come  abroad  "  (Luke 
viii.  17).  God  will,  in  the  Last  Day,  disclose  and  make  known  our 
whole  life.  As  the  morning  sun  shows  all  things  in  their  true  light, 
so  Christ,  the  Sun  of  justice,  will  at  the  Day  of  Judgment  reveal  all 
our  actions  in  their  true  light.  All  prayers,  alms,  fasts,  penances, 
that  are  done  according  to  His  will,  will  be  made  manifest  to  the 
whole  world.  Nothing  is  so  small  as  to  escape  notice  at  the  Last 

"We  should  think  on  God's  omniscience,  especially  when  we 
are  tempted,  that  we  may  pass  through  our  temptations  un 

A  little  boy  who  was  in  a  strange  house  saw  there  a  basket  full 
of  beautiful  apples.  As  he  could  see  no  one  in  the  room,  he  was  much 

The  Apostles9  Creed.  119 

tempted  to  help  himself  to  some.  But  the  thought  came  to  him  of 
God's  omniscience.  "  No,"  he  said,  "  I  must  not  take  them,  for  God 
sees  me."  At  that  moment  a  man  who  was  hidden  from  him  by  a 
curtain,  called  out  to  him,  "  You  may  take  as  many  apples  as  you 
like."  What  a  blessing  it  was  for  him  that  he  had  not  taken  them 
without  permission.  If  we  know  that  some  one  is  watching  us  we  are 
very  careful  what  we  do;  if  we  remember  that  God  sees  us,  we  shall  be 
still  more  careful.  Job  took  refuge  in  God's  knowledge  of  his  inno 
cence,  when  he  was  mocked  at  by  his  friends;  so  did  Susanna  when 
falsely  accused  (Job  xvi.  16;  Dan.  xiii.  42). 

5.  God  is  supremely  wise,  i.e.,  He  knows  how  to  direct  every 
thing  for  the  best  in  order  to  carry  out  His  designs. 

The  design  at  which  God  aims  is  nothing  else  than  His  own 
glory,  and  the  good  of  His  creatures.  If  the  farmer  wishes  for  a 
good  harvest,  he  ploughs  his  field,  manures  it,  sows  good  seed,  etc. 
Such  a  farmer  is  a  wise  man,  because  he  chooses  the  means  best  quali 
fied  to  attain  his  end.  God  acts  in  an  exactly  similar  way.  He  pre 
pared  the  world  for  the  coming  of  the  Eedeemer  by  the  call  of  Abra 
ham,  the  sending  of  the  prophets,  etc.  The  wisdom  of  God  shows 
Itself  in  the  life  of  individuals,  e.g.,  of  Joseph  in  Egypt,  of  Moses,  of 
St.  Paul,  and  also  in  the  history  of  nations  and  kingdoms.  (Of. 
Eom.  xi.  33). 

1.  The  wisdom  of  God  shows  itself  especially  in  the  way  in 
which  He  brings  good  out  of  evil. 

The  life  of  the  patriarch  Joseph  is  an  excellent  example  of  this. 
God's  ways  are  not  as  our  ways,  or  His  thoughts  as  our  thoughts. 
Man  proposes  and  God  disposes.  A  man  inexperienced  in  war  would 
be  puzzled  by  the  orders  issued  by  the  general,  and  would  not  be  able 
to  understand  how  they  all  could  tend  to  insure  victory.  We  shall 
understand  God's  ways  in  heaven,  but  we  cannot  understand  them 
here.  A  child  saw  how  the  thorns  tore  away  little  pieces  from  the 
fleece  of  a  sheep  and  wanted  to  remove  the  thorns.  Presently  the 
child  saw  how  the  singing-birds  collected  the  bits  of  wool  to  make 
their  nests,  and  no  longer  wished  to  remove  the  thorns.  Many  men 
are  like  this  child. 

2.  The  wisdom  of  God  is  also  displayed  in  this,  that  God 
makes  use  of  the  most  unlikely  means  for  His  own  honor. 

St.  Paul  says :  "  The  weak  things  of  this  world  God  has  chosen 
to  confound  the  strong"  (1  Cor.  i.  27).  God  chose  the  small  and 
despised  land  of  Palestine  as  the  cradle  of  Christianity;  He  chose  a 
poor  maiden  to  be  the  Mother  of  God,  and  a  poor  carpenter  to  be 
His  foster-father.  He  chose  poor,  ignorant  fishermen  to  preach  the 
Gospel  and  spread  it  over  all  the  earth.  He  often  uses  the  most  im 
probable  means  in  helping  His  friends.  St.  Felix  of  Nola,  when 
flying  from  his  persecutors,  took  refuge  in  a  hole  in  a  rock.  A  spider 
came  and  spun  its  web  at  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  and  his  pursuers,  on 
seeing  this,  concluded  that  he  could  not  be  inside.  A  poor  woman 
was  summoned  to  pay  some  money  which  had  already  been  paid  by 
her  husband,  who  was  dead.  She  searched  everywhere  for  the  receipt, 

120  Faith. 

but  in  vain.  The  very  morning  when  she  had  to  appear  before  the 
court  a  cockchafer  flew  in  at  the  window,  and  behind  a  press.  One 
of  the  children  wanted  to  get  it,  so  the  mother  moved  the  press  a  little 
to  reach  it,  and  from  behind  the  press  the  long-sought  receipt  fell 
to  the  ground.  This  was  God's  answer  to  the  poor  widow's  prayers. 
It  is  God's  law  that  all  works  done  for  God  should  meet  with  difficul 
ties  and  hindrances.  "  A  work  that  begins  with  brilliant  promise," 
St.  Philip  Neri  used  to  say,  "has  not  God  for  its  author  and  pro 

3.  Lastly  the  wisdom  of  God  shows  itself  in  directing-  the 
course  of  the  world  to  carry  out  His  purposes. 

All  things  in  the  world  have  a  mutual  relation  to  one  another.  If 
a  man  removes  or  displaces  a  single  wheel  in  a  watch,  the  watch  stops ; 
so  if  anything  were  altered  in  the  arrangement  of  the  world,  all  things 
would  be  confused;  e.g.,  without  the  birds  the  insects  would  soon 
destroy  all  vegetation.  So  the  animals  that  serve  us  for  food  increase 
rapidly,  while  the  beasts  of  prey  breed  but  slowly.  Nothing  in  the 
world  is  useless;  the  alternations  of  sunshine  and  rain,  summer  and 
winter,  day  and  night,  all  serve  some  useful  end.  How  useful  is 
the  uneven  distribution  of  wealth,  of  the  talents  of  men,  etc. !  The 
smallest  insect  has  its  usefulness  in  the  world ;  the  butterfly,  going 
from  flower  to  flower,  carries  with  it  the  fertilizing  pollen.  Even 
the  destructive  agencies  in  the  world,  storms,  earthquakes,  and 
floods,  serve  God's  purposes,  and  are  intended  by  Him  to  help 
men  to  save  their  souls.  How  wonderful,  too,  is  the  orderly  course 
of  the  heavenly  bodies!  The  movement  of  the  earth  around  the 
sun,  and  of  the  moon  around  the  earth,  serve  to  make  this  world 
a  pleasant  habitation  for  man.  The  beautiful  arrangement  of  the 
universe  compels  us  to  recognize  the  wisdom  and  prudence  of  Him 
Who  has  created  it.  "  How  great  are  Thy  works,  O  Lord  !  Thou 
hast  made  all  things  in  wisdom;  the  earth  is  filled  with  Thy  riches  " 
(Ps.  ciii.  24). 

6.  God  is  almighty,  i.e.,  God  can  do  all  that  He  wills,  and  that 
by  a  mere  act  of  His  will. 

God  can  do  things  which  appear  to  men  impossible,  e.g.,  the 
preservation  of  the  three  young  men  in  the  midst  of  the  fiery  fur 
nace  of  Babylon.  A  thousand  similar  wonders  occurred  in  the  time 
of  the  persecutions  of  the  Christians.  Our  Lord  says  "  With  God 
nothing  is  impossible"  (Matt.  xix.  26).  Yet  God  cannot  do  that 
which  is  in  contradiction  with  His  own  perfections.  He  cannot  lie, 
and  He  cannot  deceive.  God  could  always  have  done  more  wonderful 
works  than  He  has  done.  He  could  have  created  a  more  beautiful 
world  than  this  and  more  creatures  than  He  has  actually  made. 
When  any  of  the  creatures  that  God  has  made  desires  to  do  anything, 
he  can  only  make  use  of  the  things  that  God  has  made,  and  in  accord 
ance  with  the  laws  that  God  has  established.  But  God  is  bound  by 
no  laws  save  those  of  His  own  infinite  goodness  and  truth.  He  has 
only  to  will  a  thing  and  what  He  wills  happens  at  once.  "  He  spoke, 
and  the  heavens  were  created ;  He  commanded,  and  they  were  created  " 
(Ps.  cxlviii.  5). 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  121 

The  omnipotence  of  God  shows  itself  especially  in  the  crea 
tion  of  the  world,  in  the  miracles  wrought  by  Our  Lord,  and  in 
those  miracles  which  before  and  after  Our  Lord's  time  God  has 
worked  for  the  confirmation  of  the  true  religion. 

The  earth  is  24,899  miles  in  circumference;  the  sun  is  far  larger, 
for  its  diameter  is  one  hundred  times  greater  than  that  of  the  earth. 
Some  of  the  heavenly  bodies  are  far  greater ;  some  of  them  if  they  oc 
cupied  the  place  of  the  sun  and  were  to  begin  to  rise  at  6  A.M.,  would 
not  have  completely  risen  above  the  horizon  by  6  P.M.  Our  earth  is 
over  ninety-one  million  miles  distant  from  the  sun.  A  body  travelling 
from  the  earth  to  the  sun  at  the  ordinary  rate  of  a  cannon-ball,  would 
take  twenty-five  years  to  reach  the  sun.  The  planet  Neptune,  accord 
ing  to  the  latest  information,  is  2,794,000,000  miles  distant  from  the 
sun.  A  cannon-ball  would  take  eight  hundred  years  to  travel  thence 
to  the  sun.  There  are  stars  outside  our  planetary  system  which  are 
a  million  times  further  from  us.  Light  which  travels  at  the  rate 
of  24,000  miles  a  second  would  take  many  millions  of  years  to  reach 
these  stars.  Around  our  sun  there  move  eight  larger  and  two  hundred 
and  eighty  smaller  planets.  The  nearest  (Mercury)  is  thirty-six 
million  miles  distant  from  the  sun,  and  the  most  distant  (Neptune) 
over  two  billion  miles.  There  are  also  in  the  heavens  thirty  million 
fixed  stars,  all  of  them  real  suns  and  mostly  larger  than  our  sun, 
and  around  these  move  many  other  heavenly  bodies.  All  these  God 
has  created  out  of  nothing.  How  infinite,  then,  is  the  power  of  God  ! 
Think  also  of  the  miracles  wrought  by  Christ,  the  raising  of  Laz 
arus,  the  stilling  of  the  tempest,  etc.,  the  healing  of  the  lame  man 
at  the  Beautiful  Gate  of  the  Temple,  the  wonders  that  are  now  being 
worked  at  Lourdes,  etc.  "  Who  shall  declare  the  powers  of  the  Lord, 
or  set  forth  all  His  praises  ?  "  (Ps.  cv.  2.) 

Since  God  is  almighty,  we  can  hope  for  help  from  Him  in 
our  greatest  needs. 

God  has  a  thousand  different  ways  of  helping  us.  He  can  send 
an  angel  to  help  us,  as  He  did  to  St.  Peter  in  prison;  or  work  a  mir 
acle,  as  He  did  to  feed  the  multitude  in  the  desert ;  as  a  rule  He  makes 
use  of  the  most  unlikely  means,  and  thereby  shows  the  greatness  of 
His  power.  He  freed  Bethulia  from  the  Assyrians  by  means  of  a 
woman.  He  saved  the  Israelites  from  their  enemies  by  making  a  path 
through  the  sea.  It  is  easy  for  the  Lord  to  save  by  many  or  by  few. 

7.  God  is  supremely  good,  i.e.,  He  loves  His  creatures  far  more 
than  a  father  loves  his  children. 

God  loves  His  creatures  and  loads  them  with  benefits.  He 
is  love  itself  (1  John  iv.  8). 

The  spring  cannot  but  send  forth  water  and  the  sun  light.  The 
goodness  of  God  differs  from  that  of  His  creatures  as  the  sun  differs 
from  the  light  shed  upon  a  wall.  His  creatures  are  good,  because 
God  sheds  His  goodness  upon  them.  Hence  Our  Lord  says :  "  None  is 
good  but  One,  that  is  God  "  (Mark  x.  18). 

122  FaitU. 

1.  The  love  of  God  extends  to  all  the  creatures  that  He  has 
made  (Wisd.  xi.  25). 

As  the  sun  lights  up  the  boundless  firmament,  so  God  extends 
His  goodness  to  all  creatures.  Not  one  of  them  is  excluded  from 
it.  "  Not  one  of  them  is  forgotten  by  God  "  (Luke  xii.  6). 

2.  But  God  has  an  especial  love  for  mankind.       He  im 
parts  countless  benefits  to  them  and  sent  His  Son  on  earth  to  re 
deem  them. 

What  wonderful  bodies  God  has  given  us  !  He  has  bestowed 
upon  us  our  senses,  and  the  gift  of  speech.  How  many  gifts  He  has 
conferred  upon  our  souls  !  He  has  given  us  understanding,  free  will, 
and  memory.  For  our  bodies  He  gives  us  food,  drink,  clothing,  health, 
etc.  How  well  He  has  provided  for  our  necessities  on  this  earth: 
light,  warmth,  the  air,  the  plants,  the  trees,  and  their  various  fruits. 
How  many  powers  He  has  implanted  in  nature,  for  us  to  use  for  our 
own  benefit :  coal,  salt,  stone,  marble,  precious  stones,  etc.  He  has, 
in  fact,  made  man  the  lord  of  the  whole  world.  He  loves  us  far  more 
than  we  love  ourselves.  His  love  for  us  is  far  greater  than  that  of 
the  fondest  mother  for  her  child.  The  love  of  all  creatures  for  God 
is  not  nearly  as  great  as  the  love  of  God  for  each  one  of  us.  But 
above  all,  God 'has  shown  His  love  for  us  in  this — that  He  gave  His 
only-begotten  Son  for  us  (John  iii.  16).  Abraham  could  not  show  his 
love  for  God  in  any  more  perfect  way  than  this,  that  he  gave  to  God 
that  which  was  dearest  to  him,  viz.,  his  only  son.  God  did  just  the 
same ;  He  gave  us  His  dearest  and  best  possession,  His  only-begotten 
Son.  Our  Lord  says  of  Himself :  "  Greater  love  no  man  has  than 
this,  that  a  man  lay  down  his  life  for  his  friends  "  (John  xv.  13).  He 
underwent  His  sacred  Passion  and  death  in  order  to  prove  the  excess 
of  His  love  for  us.  His  attitude  on  the  cross  proclaims  it.  His  head 
bowed,  to  give  us  the  kiss  of  peace,  His  arms  extended  to  embrace  us, 
His  Heart  opened  to  admit  us  therein.  In  the  Blessed  Sacrament 
His  love  keeps  Him  in  the  midst  of  us,  and  seeks  the  closest  union 
with  us  in  holy  communion.  Finally  He  promised  to  grant  all  the 
prayers  that  we  offer  in  His  name  (John  xiv.  14). 

3.  Among  men  God  shows  the  greatest  love  to  the  just. 

"A  perfect  soul,"  says  St.  Alphonsus,  "  is  dearer  to  God  than 
a  thousand  imperfect  ones."  "  To  them  that  love  God  all  things  work 
together  for  good"  (Rom.  viii.  28).  "0  how  great  is  the  multitude 
of  Thy  sweetness,  O  Lord,  which  Thou  hast  hidden  for  them  that 
fear  Thee"  (Ps.  xxx.  20).  God  rewards  the  good  works  of  the  just 
far  beyond  what  they  deserve.  He  repays  them  a  hundredfold,  even 
in  this  present  life  (Matt.  xix.  29).  He  loves  the  just  in  spite  of 
their  sins  and  imperfections,  just  as  a  mother  loves  her  child  ten 
derly  in  spite  of  its  many  defects. 

4.  God  manifests  His  love  even  to  sinners. 

God  continues  to  confer  graces  and  benefits  upon  sinners  until 
the  last  moment  of  their  life  (Matt.  v.  44).  He  sends  them  troubles 
to  bring  them  to  repentance.  He  finds  some  good  in  all,  and  He  also 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  123 

loves  them  for  what  He  hopes  they  may  become.  The  love  of  God 
is  like  the  powerful  magnet  that  draws  iron  to  itself.  Sometimes 
there  is  an  obstacle  in  the  way,  so  that  the  piece  of  iron  cannot  reach 
the  magnet,  but  the  magnet  continues  to  draw  it  all  the  same.  So 
God  continues  to  draw  sinners,  even  though  they  do  not  come  near  to 
Him.  God  hates  only  the  devil  and  the  lost.  Even  in  hell  He  shows 
His  goodness  by  not  punishing  the  lost  as  much  as  they  deserve. 
It  is  because  of  God's  love  for  men  that  hell  will  be  so  intolerable. 
The  lost  will  say,  "  If  God  had  not  loved  us  so  much,  we  should  not  be 
so  miserable  now."  Since  God  loves  us  so  dearly  we  should  love  Him 
dearly  in  return  (1  John  iv.  10).  We  should  not  be  afraid  of  Him, 
but  should  draw  near  to  Him  with  childlike  confidence.  Since 
God  is  so  good  to  us  we  must  also  be  good  to  our  fellow-men.  God 
has  given  us  a  command  to  love  Him,  to  love  our  neighbors,  to  love 
our  enemies,  and  also  to  perform  works  of  mercy.  God  also  wishes  us 
to  be  kind  and  merciful  to  the  brute  creation. 

.   8.  God  is  very  patient,  i.e.,  He  leaves  the  sinner  time  for  re 
pentance  and  a  change  of  life. 

Men  are  wont  to  punish  quickly ;  not  so  God.  He  endures  long  the 
rebellion  of  the  wicked.  It  is  not  the  will  of  God  that  a  sinner 
should  die,  but  that  he  should  be  converted  from  his  wicked  ways,  and 
live  (Ezech.  xviii.  23).  God  often  gives  men  long  warning  of  coming 
judgments.  He  gave  those  who  lived  in  the  days  of  Noe  a  warning 
of  one  hundred  and  twenty  years ;  to  the  Ninivites  of  forty  days ;  to 
the  Jews  a  warning  of  forty  years  before  the  destruction  of  Jeru 
salem.  A  storm  does  not  break  at  once;  we  are  forewarned  by  the 
gathering  clouds  and  the  darkness ;  so  God  warns  us  of  coming  pun 
ishment.  He  does  not  at  once  cut  down  the  barren  tree  (Luke  xiii. 
8,  9).  God's  manner  of  action  is  opposite  to  that  of  man.  Man 
constructs  slowly,  and  destroys  quickly.  God  constructed  the  uni 
verse  in  six  days,  but  He  took  seven  days  for  the  destruction  of  the 
little  town  of  Jericho.  Even  man  prefers  to  build  up,  rather  than 
to  destroy ;  much  more  so  God. 

God  is  so  patient  with  us  because  He  has  compassion  on  our 
weakness,  and  because  He  desires  to  make  conversion  easy  to  the 

God  deals  with  us  as  a  mother  deals  with  a  peevish  infant;  she 
presses  it  closer  to  her  breast  and  coaxes  it  to  be  good.  "  Knowest 
thou  not,"  says  St.  Paul,  "  that  the  goodness  of  God  leadeth  thee  to 
penance  ? "  (Rom.  ii.  4.)  God  deals  with  us  patiently  for  our 
sakes,  not  being  willing  that  any  should  perish,  but  that  all  should 
come  to  penance  (2  Pet.  iii.  9).  With  many  sinners  God's  patience 
has  not  been  lost,  e.g.,  St.  Mary  Magdalen,  St.  Augustine,  St.  Mary 
of  Egypt,  etc.,  but  with  others  it  effects  nothing.  The  same  sunlight 
hardens  mud  and  softens  wax.  If  God  were  not  patient  with  us,  no 
one  could  be  saved,  for  we  are  all  sinners  who  have  been  unfaithful 
to  Him.  But  though  God  is  so  patient,  it  is  dangerous  to  put  off 
conversion.  For  the  longer  God  delays  His  vengeance,  the  more 
terrible  it  is  when  it  comes  upon  the  sinner.  It  is  just  like  an  arrow 
from  the  bow ;  the  more  the  bow  is  drawn  back,  the  greater  the  force 

124  Faith. 

with  which  the  arrow  flies.  Compare  the  awful  end  of  Antiochus 
Epiphanes  (2  Mach.  ix.  5  seq.}.  We  must  not  think,  because  God  is 
so  patient,  that  He  has  forgotten  our  sins.  "  Say  not,  I  have  sinned, 
and  what  harm  hath  befallen  me  ?  The  Most  High  is  a  patient  re- 
warder  "  (Ecclus.  v.  4). 

9.  God  is  full  of  mercy  and  compassion,  i.e.,  He  very  readily 
forgives  our  sins  when  we  are  sincerely  sorry  for  them. 

Our  Lord  gives  a  beautiful  object-lesson  of  the  mercy  of  God  in 
the  story  of  the  prodigal  son.  See  how  quickly  God  forgave  the 
sin  of  David  (2  Kings  xii.  13).  It  is  a  property  of  God  to  have 
mercy  and  to  spare.  His  mercy  is  infinite;  like  the  sea,  it  has  no 
bounds.  God  requires  of  us  that  we  should  forgive  seventy  times 
seven ;  how  immeasurably  merciful  therefore  must  God  be  ! 

The  mercy  of  God  especially  shows  itself  in  the  way  in 
which  He  seeks  out  the  sinner,  seeking  to  win  him  both  by 
benefits  and  by  the  sufferings  He  inflicts;  and  also  in  the  love 
with  which  He  receives  again  and  again  the  greatest  sinner, 
after  his  conversion  showing  him  a  greater  good  will  than  before. 

God  is  like  the  good  shepherd  who  goes  after  the  lost  sheep  until 
he  finds  it  (Luke  xv.  4).  God  sent  the  prophet  Nathan  to  David; 
He  Himself  sought  out  the  Samaritan  woman  (John  iv.).  Often 
He  sends  troubles  that  through  them  the  prodigal  son  may  be  brought 
to  his  senses.  He  is  like  a  fisherman  who  tries  every  sort  of  device 
to  entice  fishes  into  his  net.  God  is  always  ready  to  pardon  even 
the  greatest  sinner;  for  He  says,  "If  your  sinr  b<~  as  scarlet,  they 
shall  be  made  white  as  snow;  and  if  they  be  red  like  crimson,  they 
shall  be  white  as  wool"  (Is.  i.  18).  In  fact,  the  greater  the  sin 
ner  the  more  lovingly  does  God  receive  him  if  he  is  willing  to 
amend.  Hence  David  says  to  God,  "  Be  merciful  to  my  sin,  for  it  is 
great"  (Ps.  xxiv.  11).  God  is  like  a  fisherman,  who  is  more  glad  to 
catch  big  fish  than  small  ones.  No  one  is  lost  because  he  has  com 
mitted  great  sins,  but  many  are  lost  because  they  have  committed  one 
sin  of  which  they  will  not  repent.  Even  Judas  would  have  received 
forgiveness  if  he  had  asked  for  it.  God  sometimes  forgives  the  sin 
ner  in  the  last  moment  of  life.  He  received  the  good  thief  on  the 
cross.  Yet  this  is  no  reason  for  putting  off  repentance  till  the  last. 
"  God  justified  one  man  at  the  last  moment  that  none  might  despair; 
but  only  one,  that  none  might  presume,"  says  St.  Augustine.  A  death 
bed  repentance  is  generally  a  very  doubtful  business ;  the  dying  sin 
ner  forsakes  his  sins  rather  because  he  cannot  help  it,  than  because 
from  his  heart  he  detests  them;  he  is  like  the  mariner  who  throws 
his  goods  into  the  sea  simply  from  fear  of  death,  not  because  he 
wishes  to  get  rid  of  them.  Witness  how  rarely  a  conversion  made  in 
peril  of  death  proves  lasting  if  the  sick  man  recovers.  "  It  is  absurd," 
says  St.  Bernardin  of  Sienna,  "  that  a  man  who  would  not  fight  when 
he  was  well  and  strong,  should  be  moved  to  the  combat  when  he  is  sick 
and  weak."  God  also  receives  the  repentant  sinner  most  lovingly. 
See  how  Christ  received  with  tender  compassion  Magdalen,  the 
woman  taken  in  adultery,  and  the  thief  on  the  cross  (Luke  vii.  47; 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  125 

John  viii.  11 ;  Luke  xxiii.  43).  How  kindly  the  father  of  the  prodigal 
son  received  him  !  God  receives  the  sinner  far  more  kindly  than  that. 
"  Before  he  knocks  at  the  door,  it  is  opened  to  him ;  before  he  falls 
on  his  knees  before  Thee,  Thou  stretchest  out  Thy  hand  to  him"  (St. 
Ephrem).  Our  Lord  says  that  there  is  more  joy  in  heaven  over  one 
sinner  doing  penance,  than  over  ninety-nine  just  men,  who  need  not 
penance  (Luke  xv.  7).  The  reason  of  this  is  that  the  sinner  who 
does  penance  generally  serves  God  more  zealously  and  faithfully.  God 
bestows  upon  the  sinner  after  his  conversion  greater  benefits  than  He 
did  before  he  went  astray.  The  father  of  the  prodigal  son  killed  the 
fatted  calf,  and  made  a  great  feast,  with  music  and  dancing.  Some 
times  the  benefits  God  bestows  on  the  converted  sinner  are  external, 
more  often  they  are  inner  consolations  and  graces.  Witness  St. 
Paul,  raised  to  the  third  heaven  (2  Cor.  xii.  2).  The  Good  Shepherd 
has  more  joy  over  the  return  of  the  one  wandering  sheep,  than  over 
the  ninety-nine  that  never  went  astray. 

10.  God  is  infinitely  holy,  i.e.,  He  loves  good  and  hates  all  evil. 

God's  holiness  is  nothing  else  than  a  love  of  His  own  infinite  per 
fections.  He  is  free  from  the  faintest  stain,  and  therefore  desires 
that  all  should  be  like  to  Himself.  How  pure  is  the  blue  heaven 
on  which  there  is  no  cloud!  How  pure  is  the  white  snow  011  which 
110  spot  is  to  be  found  !  Yet  God  is  infinitely  purer.  Even  angels 
are  not  pure  in  His  sight  (Job  iv.  18).  The  purity  of  the  angels  as 
compared  with  that  of  God  is  like  the  light  of  a  lamp  compared  with 
the  light  of  the  sun.  "  All  our  justice  is  like  a  soiled  rag  before  Thee, 
O  God  !  "  (Is.  Ixiv.  6.)  He  says  to  us:  "Be  ye  holy,  because  I  am 
holy"  (Lev.  xi.  44).  With  this  object  He  implants  in  our  breast  the 
natural  law  (conscience)  ;  with  this  object  He  gave  the  law  on  Mount 
Sinai;  with  this  object  He  attached  evil  consequences  to  evil  deeds. 
And  to  cleanse  the  just  from  the  impurities  that  cling  to  them,  He 
purifies  them  by  suffering  (John  xv.  2).  He  also  cleanses  them  by 
the  fire  of  purgatory,  since  nothing  unclean  can  enter  heaven.  Why 
is  it  that  the  saints  and  angels  in  heaven  are  represented  as  dressed 
in  white  garments  ?  Why  is  it  that  at  Baptism  a  white  robe  is  given 
to  the  newly  baptized  ?  Be  pure  and  holy,  and  then  you  will  be  a  child 
of  God. 

11.  God  is  infinitely  just,  i.e.,  He  rewards  all  good  and  pun 
ishes  all  evil  deeds. 

God's  justice  is  identical  with  His  goodness.  He  punishes  men  to 
make  them  better,  and  to  make  them  happy. 

1.   God   punishes   and   rewards   men   partly   on   earth,   but 
chiefly  after  death. 

Good  actions  bring  men  respect,  sometimes  riches^  health,  and  a 
peaceful  conscience.  Bad  actions  bring  just  the  opposite.  Abraham, 
Noe,  the  patriarch  Joseph,  were  rewarded  in  this  life.  Absalom,  the 
sons  of  Heli,  and  Antiochus  Epiphanes  were  punished  in  this  life. 
But  it  is  in  the  next  life,  and  especially  after  the  resurrection,  that 
body  and  soul  alike  will  receive  their  full  reward.  If  all  sins  were 
punished  in  this  life  men  would  not  believe  in  the  Judgment  Day. 

126  Faith. 

If  none  were  punished  here  they  would  not  believe  in  God's  retribu 
tive  justice  (St.  Augustine). 

2.  God  rewards   the   least   good   action,   and  punishes   the 
smallest  sin. 

Christ  tells  us  that  even  a  cup  of  cold  water  given  in  His  name 
will  have  its  reward.  A  mere  look  or  gesture  will  meet  with  its  due 
reward.  Christ  tells  us  that  we  shall  give  account  for  every  idle  word 
(Matt.  xii.  36). 

3.  God  punishes  men  for  the  most  part  in  kind,  i.e.,  in  the 
same  way  in  which  they  have  sinned. 

"  By  what  things  a  man  sinneth,"  says  the  Wise  Man,  "  by  the 
same  he  also  is  tormented."  Absalom  prided  himself  on  his  long 
hair  and  it  caused  his  death.  The  rich  glutton  sinned  with  his  palate 
and  it  was  his  tongue  and  palate  that  were  tormented  in  the  fire  of 
hell.  Antiochus  tormented  the  seven  Machabean  brethren  by  tearing 
and  maiming  their  flesh,  and  his  own  flesh  was  eaten  by  worms  (2 
Mach.  ix.  6).  Aman  wished  to  hang  Mardochai,  and  prepared  a 
gallows  for  him,  and  on  the  same  gallows  he  was  himself  hanged. 
The  women  of  Bethlehem  would  not  shelter  the  Mother  of  God  and 
the  divine  Son,  and  their  children  perished  at  the  revengeful  and 
cruel  hand  of  Herod.  Napoleon  I.  imprisoned  the  Holy  Father,  and 
in  his  turn  was  imprisoned  first  in  Elba,  and  then  in  St.  Helena. 
In  these  and  many  similar  events,  the  Christian  sees  the  finger  of 

4.  In  rewarding  and  punishing,  God  has  regard  to  the  cir 
cumstances  of  the  individual,  and  especially  to  the  intention 
with  which  he  acts,  and  to  the  talents  that  he  possesses. 

Men  judge  from  the  outward  appearance  of  any  action,  God 
judges  from  the  heart  (1  Kings  xvi.  7).  The  poor  widow  who  threw 
in  only  two  mites  into  the  treasury  of  the  Temple,  had  more  merit 
before  God  than  many  of  the  rich  men  who  gave  large  gifts  (Luke 
xxi.  4).  The  servant  who  knows  his  lord's  will  and  does  it  not,  will 
receive  more  stripes  than  the  servant  who  did  not  know  the  will  of 
his  lord  (Luke  xii.  47,  48).  The  more  knowledge  any  one  has  of 
God,  the  more  severely  will  God  punish  him  for  his  sins. 

5.  God  is  no  respecter  of  persons. 

Many  who  are  first  in  this  world  will  be  last  in  the  world  to  come. 
The  story  of  the  rich  glutton  and  poor  Lazarus  is  an  instance  of  this. 
Many  who  have  their  names  in  the  mouths  of  men,  and  in  the  records 
of  their  country,  will  not  have  their  names  written  in  the  book  of 

Because  God  is  a  God  of  perfect  justice  we  have  good  reason 
to  fear  Him. 

Christ  exhorts  us  to  fear  God,  Who  is  able  to  cast  both  body  and 
soul  into  hell  (Matt.  x.  28).  On  account  of  one  single  sin,  that  of  our 
first  parents,  millions  of  men  have  to  suffer  pain  and  death;  and 

Tlie  Apostles'  Creed.  127 

countless  numbers  will  be  forever  miserable.  Thence  we  gather  how 
God  hates  sin.  The  same  conclusion  follows  from  the  fact  that  Our 
Lord  had  to  die  an  agonizing  death  to  atone  for  sin.  Who,  then,  can 
fail  to  fear  God  ?  But  our  fear  of  God  must  be  a  filial,  not  a  servile 
fear,  i.e.,  we  must  fear  not  so  much  the  punishment  of  sin,  as  the 
offence  against  God.  A  filial  fear  is  the  result  of  a  great  love  of  God. 
Yet  we  must  try  and  avoid,  from  fear  of  punishment,  those  sins  from 
which  the  love  of  God  is  not  sufficient  to  deter  us. 

The  fear  of  God  is  of  great  advantage  to  us;  it  keeps  us  back 
from  sin,  leads  us  on  to  perfection,  and  insures  for  us  peace  and 
happiness  both  in  time  and  in  eternity. 

The  fear  of  God  keeps  us  back  from  sin.  It  was  the  fear  of  God 
that  held  back  the  aged  Eleazar  from  eating  swine's  flesh  (2  Mach. 
vi.  26).  He  who  fears  God  knows  no  other  fear.  As  the  wind  drives 
away  the  clouds,  so  the  fear  of  God  drives  away  fleshly  lusts,  and  en 
ables  us  to  escape  the  snares  of  the  devil.  He  who  fears  God  casts 
aside  all  attachment  to  things  of  earth,  as  the  mariner  in  danger 
throws  overboard  the  wares  that  otherwise  would  sink  his  ship.  As 
the  needle  pierces  the  stuff  and  makes  way  for  the  thread,  so  the  fear 
of  God  prepares  the  way  for  the  love  of  God  and  for  every  virtue. 
"  The  fear  of  God,"  says  the  Psalmist,  "  is  the  beginning  of  wisdom  " 
(Ps.  ex.  10).  The  fear  of  man  is  full  of  bitterness  and  makes  a  man 
a  slave;  the  fear  of  God  is  full  of  sweetness,  and  makes  him  a  free 
man.  The  fear  of  God  brings  with  it  honor  and  glory;  it  is  crowned 
with  joy  and  gladness,  it  gladdens  the  heart,  and  gives  strength  and 
happiness  and  long  life.  "  Blessed  is  the  man  that  f eareth  the  Lord  " 
(Ps.  cxi.  1).  The  more  we  fear  God  now,  the  less  we  shall  fear  His 
judgments  at  the  Last  Day. 

The  fear  of  God  is  a  special  grace  given  by  God  to  those  who 
love  Him. 

The  fear  of  God  is  a  special  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  God  says 
of  His  people,  "  I  will  give  My  fear  in  their  hearts,  that  they  may  not 
revolt  from  Me."  Hence  our  prayer  should  be,  "  Pierce  Thou  my 
flesh  with  Thy  fear"  (Ps.  cxviii.  120). 

12.  God  is  a  God  of  perfect  truth,  i.e.,  all  that  He  reveals  to 
man  is  true.  * 

God  cannot  err  for  He  is  omniscient;  He  cannot  deceive  for  He 
is  all-holy.  "  God  is  not  as  a  man  that  He  should  lie,  nor  the  son  of 
man,  that  He  should  be  changed  "  (Numb,  xxiii.  19).  Hence  we  must 
believe  all  that  God  has  revealed,  even  though  our  feeble  understand 
ing  cannot  comprehend  it — e.g.,  the  mysteries  of  the  Christian  relig 
ion,  the  Blessed  Trinity,  the  Incarnation,  the  Blessed  Sacrament  of 
the  Altar. 

13.  God  is  faithful,  i.e.,  He  keeps  His  promises  and  carries 
out  His  threats. 

See  how  exactly  God  carried  out  His  threat  of  death  to  our  first 
parents,  and  His  subsequent  promise  of  a  Redeemer.  See  again  how 
exactly  Our  Lord's  prediction  of  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  was 

128  Faith. 

fulfilled;  and  how  the  prophecy  of  Daniel,  that  the  Temple  would 
never  again  be  rebuilt  (Dan.  ix.  27)  was  accomplished;  for  when 
Julian  the  Apostate  made  an  attempt  to  rebuild  it,  an  earth 
quake  destroyed  the  foundations,  and  flames  issuing  from  the  ground 
compelled  the  builders  to  fly.  Promises  and  threats  are  necessary  to 
move  our  feeble  wills.  Our  Lord  used  the  fear  of  punishment  as  an 
incentive  to  virtue.  Ordinary  men  are  more  influenced  by  fear  than 
by  any  higher  motive.  With  them  the  fear  of  hell  is  a  stronger  mo 
tive  for  virtuous  living  than  the  hope  of  heaven.  God  threatens  us 
out  of  mercy.  The  man  who  cries  "  Beware  "  does  not  want  to  strike. 
So  God  threatens  punishment  that  He  may  not  have  to  punish. 

Hence  all  that  Our  Lord  and  the  prophets  have  foretold 
either  has  already  happened,  or  will  happen  in  the  future. 

The  time  will  therefore  never  come  when  the  Catholic  Church 
will  be  destroyed,  or  when  the  Papacy  will  cease  to  exist  (Matt.  xvi. 
18).  The  Jews  will  all  be  converted  before  the  end  of  the  world 
(Osee  iii.  5).  Awful  signs  in  the  heaven  and  earth  will  precede  the 
final  judgment  (Matt.  xxiv.  .29).  If  we  trust  our  fellow-men  they 
give  us  their  promise  on  paper;  how  much  more  should  we  trust 
Christ,  since  He  has  left  us  whole  books,  i.e.,  the  Scriptures,  filled 
with  His  promises ! 


At  the  baptism  of  Jesus  Christ  all  the  three  persons  of  the  Blessed 
Trinity  manifested  themselves;  the  Father  by  a  voice  from  heaven, 
the  Son  through  His  baptism,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  in  the  form  of  a 
dove  (Matt.  iii.  16). 

1.  The  Blessed  Trinity  is  one  God  in  three  persons. 

The  three  persons  are  called  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost. 

The  number  three  is  often  found  both  in  nature  and  in  religion. 
There  are  three  persons  in  the  Holy  Family ;  three  parts  in  the  sacra 
ments  (intention,  matter,  and  form)  ;  Our  Lord  hung  for  three  hours 
on  the  cross,  and  remained  three  days  in  the  grave.  He  taught  on 
earth  for  three  years,  and  has  the  triple  office  of  Prophet,  Priest,  and 
King.  So  in  time  there  are  past,  present,  and  future;  three  kingdoms 
in  creation,  the  nfaterial,  the  vegetable,  and  the  animal  worlds.  The 
number  four  is  also  of  frequent  occurrence;  there  are  four  gospels, 
four  cardinal  virtues,  four  seasons  of  the  year,  four  thousand  years 
from  the  Fall  to  the  Incarnation,  etc.  The  number  seven  is  also  com 
mon  ;  there  are  seven  days  of  the  week,  seven  sacraments,  seven  works 
of  mercy,  seven  gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  seven  sacred  orders  ending 
in  the  priesthood,  etc.  Three  is  sometimes  called  the  number  of  God, 
four  the  number  of  the  world,  by  reason  of  the  four  continents,  and 
seven  represents  the  combination  of  the  two. 

2.  We  cannot,  with  our  feeble  understanding,  grasp  the  doc 
trine  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  and  it  is  therefore  called  a  mystery. 

We  are  unable  to  comprehend  that  there  are  three  persons  in 
God,  yet  only  one  God.  He  who  gazes  at  the  sun  is  dazzled  by  it; 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  129 

if  he  continues  to  gaze  at  it  he  loses  his  sight.  So  is  it  with  the 
Blessed  Trinity;  he  who  inquires  into  it  is  dazzled.  He  who  refuses 
to  believe  in  it  because  he  does  not  understand  it,  is  like  a  blind 
man,  who  will  not  believe  in  the  existence  of  the  sun  because  he  can 
not  see  it.  How  many  things  there  are  in  nature  that  we  cannot  un 
derstand!  We  cannot  understand  the  growth  of  plants,  trees,  and 
animals;  we  cannot  understand  the  nature  of  electricity  and  mag 
netism.  We  cannot  understand  how  the  color  red  is  formed  by  the 
vibration  of  the  ether  at  the  rate  of  one  hundred  and  thirty  millions 
of  vibrations  in  a  second,  or  violet  by  double  that  number.  To 
count  the  vibrations  of  the  ether  that  take  place  in  one  second  in 
the  forming  of  the  color  violet,  we  should  have  to  go  on  counting 
for  more  than  ten  thousand  years  without  ceasing  either  day  or  night. 
Much  less  can  we  understand  what  belongs  to  God.  Jeremias  says, 
"  Great  art  Thou,  O  Lord,  in  counsel,  and  incomprehensible  in 
thought"  (Jer.  xxxii.  19).  "No  one  understands  what  Thou  art,  O 
God,  except  Thou  Thyself."  We  can,  however,  understand  something 
of  the  nature  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  by  comparing  it  with  certain 
facts  of  nature  which  in  some  way  correspond  to  and  illustrate  it. 
The  flames  of  three  candles  placed  together  form  but  one  flame; 
the  white  light  can  be  divided  into  red,  yellow,  and  blue  rays,  which, 
however,  together  form  but  one  light.  The  orb  of  the  sun,  its  light, 
and  its  heat,  are  three  different  things,  which  are  at  the  same  time 
really  one.  The  soul  of  man  contains  memory,  understanding,  and 
will,  which  are  but  different  manifestations  of  the  same  spiritual 
substance.  Yet  all  these  are  but  imperfect  analogies,  and  cannot 
carry  us  very  far  in  attempting  to  understand  something  of  the  in 
comprehensible  mystery  of  the  Blessed  Trinity.  Unbelievers  some 
times  say :  "  How  is  it  possible  that  three  can  be  one,  and  one  three  ?" 
They  show  that  they  do  not  know  what  the  teaching  of  the  Church 
really  is.  "  They  blaspheme  those  things  that  they  know  not "  ( Jude 
10) .  The  Church  does  not  say  there  are  three  persons  and  one  person, 
but  there  are  three  persons,  and  one  nature  or  essence. 

3.  The  nature,  the  attributes,  and  the  works  of  the  three  per 
sons  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  are  common  to  all  of  them. 

There  are  therefore  not  three  gods,  but  one  God. 

The  Father  is  therefore  different  from  the  Son,  because  He  is 
a  different  person ;  but  He  has  not  a  different  being,  because  He  has 
the  same  nature. 

For  this  reason  each  of  the  three  persons  is,  in  exactly 
the  same  sense,  omniscient,  omnipotent,  eternal,  and  absolutely 
perfect,  as  are  the  other  two. 

When  Our  Lord  spoke  of  His  return  to  the  Father,  He  said, 
"  My  Father  is  greater  than  I "  (John  xiv.  28).  Here  He  was  speak 
ing  of  Himself  as  man ;  else  He  could  not  have  spoken  of  His  return 
to  the  Father. 

Hence  the  creation  of  the  world,  the  redemption  and  the 
sanctification  of  men  is  wrought  by  all  the  three  divine 
persons  together. 

130  Faith. 

Yet  we  are  accustomed  to  say :  "  The  Father  made  the  world, 
the  Son  redeemed  it,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  sanctifies  it." 

4.  The  three  divine  persons  are  divided  only  in  their  origin. 

In  a  tree  the  trunk  comes  forth  from  the  root,  and  from  both 
comes  the  fruit.  Such  is  the  relation  between  the  three  divine  per 

God  the  Father  has  no  origin  and  proceeds  from  no  other 
person;  God  the  Son  proceeds  from  the  Father;  God  the  Holy 
Ghost  proceeds  both  from  the  Father  and  from  the  Son. 

In  order  to  mark  the  order  of  procession,  we  name  the  Father 
first,  the  Son  second,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  third.  But  there  is  no 
succession  in  time;  the  Son  proceeds  from  the  Father  from  all 
eternity,  and  so  does  the  Holy  Ghost  from  the  Father  and  the  Son. 
The  Son  is  begotten  of  the  Father  before  all  creation.  The  Father 
produced,  by  an  act  of  divine  knowledge,  the  Son  as  an  image  like 
to  Himself  in  all  things,  just  as  we,  when  we  think,  produce  an  intel 
lectual  image  in  our  minds.  We  may  illustrate  this  by  the  relation 
existing  between  fire  and  light.  Light  proceeds  from  fire,  but  is 
contemporaneous  with  it.  If  there  were  an  eternal  fire,  there  would 
also  be  an  eternal  light.  The  Son  is  the  brightness  of  God's  glory 
(Heb.  i.  3),  the  unspotted  image  of  His  majesty  (Wisd.  vii.  26). 
Just  as  one  torch  is  kindled  from  another,  without  the  first  losing 
any  of  its  light,  so  the  Son  is  begotten  of  the  Father,  without  taking 
anything  away  from  Him.  The  Son  is  called  the  Word  of  the  Father 
(John  i.  1).  Just  as  the  word  formed  in  our  minds  (the  thought) 
is  made  manifest  by  the  external  or  spoken  word,  so  the  Word  of  God, 
dwelling  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father,  was  made  manifest  to  the  world 
when  the  Word  was  made  ilesh  and  dwelt  among  us  (John  i.  14).  As 
the  Son  has  His  origin  in  the  knowledge  of  God,  so  the  Holy  Ghost 
has  His  origin  in  the  love  of  God.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  none  other 
than  the  mutual  love  of  the  Father  and  the  Son.  He  is  the  Spirit 
of  love,  who  engenders  in  our  hearts  the  love  of  God  and  of  each 
other.  The  word  spirit  is  well  chosen,  because  by  it  we  express  the 
attractiveness  and  the  force  of  love:  The  Holy  Ghost  proceeds  from 
the  Father  and  the  Son,  as  warmth  proceeds  from  the  sun  and  its 

On  account  of  the  difference  in  their  origin  we  appropriate 
to  the  Father  the  works  of  omnipotence,  to  the  Son  the  works  of 
wisdom,  and  to  the  Holy  Ghost  the  works  of  love. 

These  various  works  have  a  certain  correspondence  with  the 
attributes  of  the  persons,  that  are  connected  with  their  origin.  The 
Father  begets  the  Son ;  for  this  reason  there  is  appropriated  to  Him 
the  bringing  of  perishable  things  also,  out  of  nothing,  i.e.,  of  crea 
tion.  He  is  therefore  called  the  almighty  Father.  He  is  also  called 
the  God  of  compassion,  because  He  is  ever  ready  to  receive  the  sinner 
who  comes  back  to  Him  in  a  true  spirit  of  penance.  The  Son  is  the 
eternal  wisdom  of  the  Father.  To  Him  therefore  is  appropriated  the 
beautiful  arrangement  of  the  world.  As  the  artist,  through  the  work- 

The  Apostles9  Creed.  131 

ing  of  his  reflective  mind  designs  the  plan  of  his  work,  so  the  Father, 
through  His  Son,  produced  order  in  the  world.  To  the  Son,  too,  is 
ascribed  the  restoration  of  order,  as  for  this  end  He  took  upon  Him 
self  the  nature  of  man.  To  the  Holy  Ghost,  as  the  mutual  love  of 
the  Father  and  the  Son,  are  ascribed  all  the  benefits  of  God  to  man; 
especially  the  bestowal  upon  him  of  his  natural  life  in  creation  (the 
Spirit  of  God  moved  upon  the  face  of  the  waters),  and  of  his  spiritual 
life  by  his  sanctification  through  grace.  To  Him,  as  the  finger  of 
God's  right  hand,  are  ascribed  all  miracles,  and  above  all  the  work  of 
the  Incarnation,  as  being  of  all  miracles  the  greatest.  The  love  of 
God  has  ever  occupied  itself  with  men,  but  the  Incarnation  of  the 
Son  of  God  by  the  operation  of  the  Holy  Ghost  surpassed  all  other 
benefits  wrought  by  Him.  It  brought  mercy  to  sinners,  truth  to  the 
erring,  life  to  those  who  were  dead,  and  hope  and  faith  to  the  whole 

5.  We  are  taught  the  mystery  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  by  Christ 
Himself,  but  it  was  partly  known  in  the  time  of  the  Old  Testa 

We  know,  from  the  fact  of  creation,  the  infinite  power,  wisdom, 
and  goodness  of  God,  but  it  does  not  reveal  to  us  the  mystery  of  the 
Blessed  Trinity.  Nor  is  there  any  proof  of  this  doctrine  to  be  found 
in  nature,  though  we  may  find  certain  analogies  to  it,  some  of  which 
we  have  given.  But  the  mystery  itself  can  only  be  made  known  to  us 
by  revelation.  "  The  Father  no  man  knoweth  but  the  Son,  and  he 
to  whom  the  Son  shall  reveal  Him"  (Matt.  xi.  27).  Our  Lord  re 
vealed  this  mystery  to  His  Church  when  He  said  to  His  apostles  be 
fore  His  ascension,  "  Go  and  teach  all  nations,  baptizing  them  in  the 
name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost "  (Matt, 
xxviii.  19).  In  the  time  of  the  Old  Testament  the  Jewish  priests, 
when  they  blessed  the  people,  had  to  repeat  the  name  of  God  three 
times  (Numb.  vi.  23).  Isaias  tells  us  that  the  seraphim  in  heaven 
cry,  "Holy,  holy,  holy,  Lord  God  of  hosts"  (Is.  vi.  3).  Before  the 
creation,  God  said,  "Let  us  make  man"  (Gen.  i.  26).  David  says, 
"  The  Lord  said  to  My  Lord,  sit  on  My  right  hand."  But  before  the 
Incarnation  the  mystery  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  was  veiled  in  a  cloud 
which  was  only  dispelled  under  the  New  Law.  "  The  Church,"  says 
St.  Hilary,  "knows  this  mystery.  The  Synagogue  believed  it  not. 
Philosophy  understood  it  not." 

6.  The   belief  in   the  Blessed   Trinity  is   expressed   in   the 
Apostles'  Creed,  in  Baptism,  and  in  the  other  sacraments,  in  all 
consecrations  and  blessings,  and  in  the  feast  of  the  Most  Holy 

The  mystery  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  is  the  foundation  of  our 
religion.  Without  a  knowledge  of  this  truth  we  cannot  understand 
our  redemption  by  the  Son  of  God.  We  ought  frequently  to  make  an 
act  of  faith  in  this  mystery,  especially  by  the  repetition  of  the  Gloria 
PatrL  We  should  repeat  it  whenever  we  receive  any  benefit  from 
God,  and  also  when  He  sends  us  any  cross  or  trial. 

132  Faith. 


"We  are  instructed  by  the  writer  of  the  book  of  Genesis  in 
the  story  of  creation. 

The  account  given  of  the  creation  in  the  book  of  Genesis  is  not 
a  fable,  but  is  founded  on  truth.  The  saqred  writer  was  enlightened 
by  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  his  words  are  a  part  of  the  Word  of  God. 
Perhaps  God  gave  him  a  vision  of  the  course  of  creation.  The  story 
is  in  exact  agreement  with  the  conclusions  of  natural  philosophy. 
All  investigations  into  the  crust  of  the  earth  show  that  organic  life 
was  developed  in  the  order  set  forth  in  Genesis. 

1.  In  the  beginning  God  created  the  spiritual  and  material 

"  In  the  beginning  " — i.e.,  in  the  beginning  of  time,  when  there 
was  nothing  else  existing  except  God.  Time  began  with  the  world, 
so  that  before  the  creation  there  was  no  time.  Holy  Scripture  does 
not  tell  us  when  the  world  was  created.  The  world  may  have  existed 
for  millions  of  years  before  the  creation  of  man.  The  fact  that  it 
takes  millions  of  years  for  the  light  of  some  of  the  heavenly  bodies 
to  reach  the  earth,  seems  to  show  this  to  have  been  the  case. 
"  Created,"  i.e.,  made  out  of  nothing.  How  God  produced  the  mate 
rials  out  of  which  the  world  was  made  we  know  riot.  Instead  of  the 
spiritual  and  the  material  world,  St.  Paul  says,  "  things  visible  and 
invisible  "  (Col.  i.  16).  The  words  of  Genesis  are,  "  In  the  beginning 
God  created  the  heaven  and  the  earth."  The  heaven  does  not  mean 
the  star-bespangled  sky,  the  creation  of  \vhich  is  narrated  subse 
quently  (Gen.  i.  6-8;  14-19).  It  means  the  abode  of  the  angels  and 
the  saints.  The  material  world  is  called  the  earth,  because  the  earth 
is  for  men  the  most  important  part  of  the  material  world.  The  first 
words  of  the  Bible,  "  God  created  heaven,"  are  intended  to  remind 
man  of  his  last  end  and  future  destiny. 

The  spiritual  world  consists  of  the  angels,  and  the  heaven 
where  they  dwell. 

The  angels  are  called  the  "Morning-stars"  (Job  xxxviii.  7),  be 
cause  they  were  created  before  this  material  world,  and  in  the  morn 
ing  of  the  universe.  Hell  was  not  created  at  the  beginning  of  the 
universe  (Matt.  xxv.  34),  but  at  a  later  period,  after  the  fall  of 
the  rebel  angels  (Matt.  xxv.  41). 

The  material  world  includes  all  things  which  are  found  in 
the  visible  universe. 

Men  are  a  union  of  spirit  and  body,  and  were  created  later. 

2.  The  material  world  was  at  first  without  form,  without  in 
habitants,  and  without  light. 

God  first  created  the  material  elements  out  of  which  the  world 
was  formed.  Natural  philosophy  tells  us  that  the  world  existed  first 

TJie  Apostles'  Creed.  133 

of  all  in  the  form  of  a  vast  mass  of  vapor,  and  that  this  vast  mass 
gradually  was  condensed,  under  the  influence  of  an  intense  heat,  into 
the  material  universe.  This  is  perfectly  in  accordance  with  the 
account  of  the  creation  given  in  Genesis. 

3.  God  gave  to  the  material  universe  its  present  form  in  the 
course  of  six  days. 

The  days  are  probably  long  periods  of  time,  consisting  of  many 
thousands  of  years;  for  the  seventh  day,  the  day  of  rest,  lasts  until 
the  end  of  the  world.  Moreover  four  of  the  days  were  already 
elapsed  before  the  sun  was  formed,  and  therefore  they  cannot  have 
been  days  as  we  now  understand  the  word.  The  word  day  is  chosen 
because  the  week  of  creation  was  to  be  a  sort  of  pattern  of  our  present 

On  the  first  day  God  made  the  light. 

We  read  in  Genesis  that  God  said,  "  Let  there  be  light,"  and  there 
was  light.  The  expression,  "  Let  there  be,"  denotes  that  something 
came  into  existence  which  did  not  exist  before.  This  was  the 
luminous  matter  which  is  now  gathered  in  the  sun;  it  is  not  dependent 
on  the  sun,  but  the  sun  on  it.  The  gaseous  matter  was  at  first  un 
formed,  i.e.,  it  had  no  forces.  God  imparted  to  it  the  law  of  gravita 
tion,  by  means  of  which  the  various  particles  of  matter  were  set  in 
motion  and  drawn  together,  and  thus  were  condensed  gradually  into 
a  solid  mass.  By  this  process  warmth,  and  at  last  fire,  were  developed. 
On  the  first  day  fire,  the  main  source  of  light,  was  produced  by  the 
movement  given  to  the  gaseous  particles,  and  the  existing  vapor 
was  condensed  into  masses  endowed  with  fire  and  light. 

On  the  second  day  God  made  the  firmament. 

The  words  of  Genesis  are,  "  God  said,  Let  there  be  a  firmament 
made  amidst  the  waters,  and  let  it  divide  the  waters  from  the  waters. 
And  God  called  the  firmament  heaven"  (Gen.  i.  6,  8).  On  this  day 
there  was  a  separation,  arrangement,  and  establishment  of  the  created 
masses,  which  were  divided  into  parts  according  to  their  constitution 
and  magnitude,  parted  from  one  another,  and  arranged  in  the  places 
that  God  had  destined  for  them.  This  planting  of  the  various  worlds 
in  their  places  in  space  constituted  the  "firmament,"  which  God 
called  "  heaven,"  in  which  the  sun  and  moon  and  stars  pursue  the 
course  that  was  allotted  to  each.  This  firmament  is  the  material 
heaven,  as  opposed  to  the  spiritual  heaven  which  is  identical  with  the 
celestial  paradise.  The  earth  on  which  we  live  was  one  of  the  con 
densed  masses  which  took  its  place  among  the  other  heavenly  bodies. 
God  at  the  same  time  divided  off  the  planets  that  move  around 
the  sun,  which  forms  the  centre  of  their  system  from  the  fixed  stars 
(v.  7). 

On  the  third  day  God  made  the  dry  land  and  the  plants. 

Here  the  sacred  writer  concerns  himself  more  especially  with  our 
earth.  The  earth,  which  was  originally  a  fiery  ball  of  gas,  gradually 
lost  its  heat,  as  it  cooled  down  in  the  midst  of  space.  The  great 
masses  of  mist  divided  themselves  off  into  the  sea  and  land.  The 

134  Faith. 

solid  elements  were  drawn  together,  and  formed  the  crust  of  the 
earth,  through  which  the  water  forced  itself  from  within.  Thus  were 
made  the  various  oceans  or  seas,  and  by  this  upheaval  the  surface  of 
the  earth  as  it  exists  at  present  was  gradually  formed,  with  its  con 
tinents,  and  islands,  its  mountains  and  valleys.  Under  the  influence 
of  the  warmth  of  the  earth  the  moist  surface  was  now  ready  for  the 
development  of  organic  life.  This  did  not  arise  out  of  nothing,  like 
the  original  primary  matter;  it  was  already  implanted  in  the  earth 
by  almighty  God,  and  was  evolved  therefrom  as  soon  as  circumstances 
favorable  to  its  development  presented  themselves.  No  organic  life 
can  arise  from  mere  inorganic  matter.  ~No  possible  combination  of 
mere  inorganic  materials  can  ever  produce  any  kind  of  organic  life. 
The  original  germs  out  of  which  life  arose  were  already  existing  in 
the  vapor-cloud  out  of  which  the  earth  was  formed,  but  were  not  able 
to  develop  themselves  under  the  conditions  of  extreme  heat  and  cold. 
They  remained  as  undeveloped  germs  until  the  more  moderate  tem 
perature  enabled  them  to  produce  plants  and  trees  under  the  influence 
of  warmth  and  moisture. 

On  the  fourth  day  God  made  the  sun,  moon,  and  stars. 

On  the  fourth  day  of  creation,  the  earth,  which  had  been  involved 
in  darkness  by  the  thick  mist  that  surrounded  it  as  long  as  it  had  not 
fully  cooled  down,  began  to  have  a  clearer  atmosphere,  and  only  a 
few  clouds  floated  over  its  surface,  instead  of  the  dense  vapor  that 
had  encircled  it.  The  shining  bodies  in  the  heaven  became  visible; 
the  sun  began  to  exercise  an  influence  upon  the  earth,  and  produced 
the  alternations  of  day  and  night,  and  the  various  seasons  of  the  year. 
The  sun  had  previously  a  feeble  power  of  radiation,  but  during  this 
fourth  period  it  assumed  its  present  form.  We  do  not  know  whether 
there  exist  living  beings  on  any  of  the  stars ;  if  there  are  such,  they 
must  be  of  a  very  different  nature  from  our  own.  We  know  that  in 
the  moon  there  is  no  atmosphere,  no  fire,  no  water,  no  sound,  no  rain, 
no  wind,  no  vegetation,  and  a  long  night  of  three  hundred  and  fifty 

On  the  fifth  day  God  made  the  fishes  and  the  birds. 

On  the  sixth  day  God  made  the  animals  and,  last  of  all,  man. 

The  animals  were  next  made  in  order  to  proclaim  the  power  of 
their  Creator  by  their  number,  variety,  greatness,  strength,  and 
cleverness,  and  also  to  serve  man,  to  nourish  him,  clothe  him,  and 
labor  for  his  benefit.  Man  was  produced  the  last  of  all  the  animals, 
and  surpasses  them  all  in  dignity,  and  in  the  possession  of  reason  and 
free  will.  Man  is  the  crown  of  God's  creation.  God  prepared  the 
world  for  his  reception,  that  he  might  enter  and  take  possession  of  it 
as  a  king  takes  possession  of  his  kingdom.  The  world  would  not  have 
been  complete  without  man;  all  else  was  made  for  his  sake.  In  all 
the  rest  of  the  work  of  creation  God  simply  said  "  Let  it  be,"  but 
before  He  created  man  He  is  represented  as  taking  counsel  with 
Himself.  This  is  to  show  the  importance  and  the  dignity  of  man. 

4.  On  the  seventh  day  God  rested  from  all  His  work  that  He 
had  done. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  135 

God's  rest  consists  in  this,  that  on  the  seventh  day  He  brought 
nothing  more  into  existence.  It  was  the  working  out,  without  any 
further  creative  action  on  the  part  of  God,  of  the  order  that  He  had 
established.  The  fact  that  God  rested  does  not  mean  that  He  ceased 
from  working  (John  v.  17).  God  must  continue  to  work  in  the  world, 
else  it  would  cease  to  exist.  As  God  rested  after  His  work,  so  we 
shall  one  day  rest  in  Him  when  our  work  is  done. 

From  the  story  of  creation  we  learn  that  God  made  the  world 
after  a  fixed  plan. 

God  in  creation  proceeded  from  the  lower  to  the  higher.  He  first 
made  all  things  that  were  necessary  for  what  was  afterwards  to  come 
into  life,  e.g.,  He  made  first  the  plants  and  then  the  animals  that 
needed  them  for  food.  In  the  first  three  days  He  separated  the 
various  parts  of  the  world  from  each  other;  in  the  three  following 
days  He  developed  and  adorned  creation.  The  three  first  days  corre 
spond  to  the  three  last ;  for  on  the  first  He  made  light,  on  the  fourth 
luminous  bodies ;  on  the  second  He  separated  water  and  air  from  each 
other,  on  the  fifth  He  filled  the  water  with  fishes  and  the  air  with 
birds ;  on  the  third  He  made  the  dry  land  and  on  the  sixth  He  filled  it 
with  animals. 

From  the  account  of  creation  we  also  learn  that  the  world 
is  not  eternal. 

The  heathen  thought  that  the  world  sprung  from  the  accidental 
concurrence  of  a  number  of  eternal  atoms.  But  the  present  wonder 
ful  order  could  not  possibly  have  arisen  by  chance,  and  the  atoms  are 
all  dependent  on  one  another,  and  therefore  could  not  be  eternal. 
The  atoms,  too,  could  never  have  put  themselves  in  motion.  Others 
thought  that  the  materials  of  the  world  were  eternal,  and  that  God 
simply  arranged  them.  Others  imagined  that  the  world  was  de 
veloped  out  of  the  divine  essence  (the  Pantheists).  But  this  would 
make  the  world  indivisible  and  unchangeable,  and  we  know  that 
this  is  not  so.  God  indeed  is  everywhere,  but  the  world  is  not  God ; 
it  is  something  different  from  Him,  and  separated  from  His  being. 

From  What,  and  for  what  End  has  God  Created  the  World? 

1.  God  made  the  world  out  of  nothing,  simply  because  it 
pleased  Him  to  make  it. 

Man  can  only  make  anything  out  of  pre-existing  materials.  God 
made  the  materials.  Men  have  to  employ  implements,  they  have  to 
labor,  and  require  a  certain  time  to  produce  their  work.  God  spoke, 
and  the  world  was  made.  He  did  not  need  even  to  speak ;  all  that  was 
needed  was  that  He  should  will  what  He  desired  done. 

All  that  God  created  was  very  good. 

God  Himself  commended  His  own  works  (Gen.  i.  31).  The  world 
was  very  good,  because  it  in  no  way  diverged  from  the  divine  idea 
but  was  in  perfect  accordance  with  it.  God  praised  His  own  works, 

136  Faith. 

because  no  one  else  could  praise  them  sufficiently.  We  also  should 
praise  God  in  His  works,  as  the  three  young  men  did  in  the  fiery 
furnace  at  Babylon.  Evil  is  evil,  because  creatures  make  a  bad  use 
of  their  free  will.  Nothing  that  exists  can  be  bad  in  itself,  but  every 
thing  must  at  least  be  in  some  way  good. 

2.  God  was  moved  to  make  the  world  by  His  great  goodness. 

His  object  was  to  make  His  reasonable  creatures  happy. 

As  a  good  father  shows  pictures  to  his  children,  to  please  them  and 
make  them  love  him,  so  God  has  manifested  His  works  to  His 
reasonable  creatures,  to  make  them  happy  and  earn  their  love.  God 
made  all  earthly  things  for  our  good;  some  for  the  support  of  men 
(plants  and  animals),  some  for  their  instruction,  some  for  their  en 
joyment,  some  for  their  trial,  as  sickness,  suffering,  etc.  "  All 
things  that  I  see  upon  the  earth,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  proclaim  that 
Thou  hast  made  them  from  love  of  me,  and  call  upon  me  to  love 
Thee."  God  did  not  need  the  world.  He  made  it  for  our  sakes. 

3.  The  end  of  creation  is  necessarily  to  proclaim  to  men  the 
glory  of  God. 

In  every  work  we  have  to  distinguish  between  the  end  of  the 
maker  of  the  work,  i.e.,  that  which  moved  the  artificer  to  make  the 
work,  and  the  end  of  the  work  itself,  i.e.,  that  for  which  the  work 
is  destined.  In  a  clock,  e.g.,  the  end  of  the  maker  of  the  clock  is  his 
own  profit ;  the  end  of  the  clock  is  to  indicate  the  time.  In  the  world 
the  motive  of  the  Artificer  is  God's  great  goodness;  the  end  of  the 
work  is  God's  glory  and  the  happiness  of  His  reasonable  creatures. 
The  motive  of  the  countless  number  and  variety  of  living  and  life 
less  beings  and  the  innumerable  number  of  the  stars,  is  that  angels 
and  men  may  know  and  admire  the  majesty  of  God.  The  end  and 
object  of  the  existence  of  angels  and  men  are  that  they  may  unceas 
ingly  behold  and  praise  God  (Is.  vi.  3).  St.  Augustine  says,  "Thou 
hast  made  us  for  Thyself,  O  God,  and  how  unquiet  is  our  heart  so 
long  as  it  finds  not  its  rest  in  Thee !"  Even  the  devils  are  compelled  to 
contribute,  in  spite  of  themselves,  to  the  glory  of  God;  for  by  their 
punishment  they  show  how  holy  and  just  God  is,  and  God  employs 
them  also  for  the  perfection  of  His  elect  through  resistance  to  their 
temptations.  Even  the  lost  in  hell  manifest  the  justice  and  holiness 
of  God  and  His  hatred  of  sin.  "  God  has  made  all  things  for  Him 
self ;  the  wicked  also  for  the  evil  day"  (Prov.  xvi.  4).  Yet  God  did 
not  make  the  world  with  a  view  to  any  increase  in  His  glory ;  for  God 
is  infinitely  happy  in  Himself,  and  has  no  need  of  anything  or  any 
one  outside  of  Himself. 

Since  we  are  made  for  the  glory  of  God,  we  should  in  all  our 
works  have  the  intention  of  honoring  God. 

St.  Paul  instructs  us  that,  "  whether  we  eat  or  drink,  or  whatever 
we  do,  we  should  do  all  to  the  glory  of  God  "  (1  Cor.  x.  31).  Nothing 
is  easier  than  to  give  glory  to  God,  since  we  can  direct  our  most  mi 
nute  actions  to  this  end.  When  we  wake  in  the  morning,  and  often 
times  during  the  day  we  should  renew  this  intention. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  137 


We  call  by  the  name  of  divine  providence  God's  preservation 
and  government  of  the  world. 

1.  God  maintains  the  world,  i.e.,  He  preserves  all  creatures  in 
existence  as  long  as  He  wills. 

A  ball  hanging  from  a  piece  of  string  falls  to  the  ground  as  soon 
as  the  string  is  cut.  So  the  whole  world  would  sink  into  nothing 
if  God  were  to  withdraw  from  it  His  supporting  power  for  a  single 
instant.  In  order  that  creatures  may  continue  to  exist,  He  provides 
all  that  is  needed  for  their  sustenance :  wheat,  vegetables,  the  various 
fruits  of  the  earth,  etc.  As  soon  as  God  wills  it,  they  die.  "  When 
Thou  shalt  take  away  their  breath,  they  shall  die,  and  return  again  to 
the  dust"  (Ps.  ciii.  29).  If  the  sun  were  to  cease  to  cast  its  rays 
upon  the  earth,  all  light  would  disappear  from  the  world;  so  if  God 
cease  to  support  us  in  existence,  our  life  at  once  fails  us.  When 
Our  Lord  says,  "  Heaven  and  earth  shall  pass  away,"  He  does  not 
mean  that  they  will  be  annihilated,  but  that  they  will  be  changed  into 
a  better.  St.  Peter  says,  "  We  look  for  a  new  heaven  and  a  new 
earth,  wherein  dwelleth  justice"  (2  Pet.  iii.  13). 

2.  God  governs  the  world,  i.e.,  He  conducts  all  things  in  the 
world,  so  that  they  contribute  to  His  glory  and  to  our  advantage. 

What  the  engine  is  to  the  train,  and  the  pilot  to  the  vessel,  God  is 
to  the  world.  He  guides  the  stars  according  to  fixed  laws,  so  that  the 
firmament  proclaims  His  glory.  He  guides  all  nations  (Dan.  iv.  32). 
We  see  His  guiding  hand  in  the  lives  of  the  patriarchs,  in  the  history 
of  the  Jews,  in  that  of  the  Christian  Church.  Yet  we  cannot  under 
stand  God's  arrangements  at  the  first  glance ;  often  we  cannot  under 
stand  them  at  all,  and  never  shall  till  we  get  to  heaven.  Yet  in  our 
own  lives  we  can  trace  again  and  again  the  good  providence  of  God. 
But  as  to  the  world  generally  we  are  forced  to  exclaim,  "  How  incom 
prehensible  are  God's  judgments,  and  how  unsearchable  His  ways  ! " 
(Rom.  xi.  33.) 

There  is  no  one  on  the  earth  for  whom  God  does  not  care, 
and  provide  for  his  welfare. 

A  mother  would  sooner  forget  her  child  than  God  would  forget 
us  (Is.  xlix.  15).  God  cares  even  for  the  irrational  creatures;  for  the 
beasts  and  birds  and  plants  (Matt.  vi.  25-30). 

God  has  a  special  care  for  those  who  are  in  humble  circum 
stances,  and  are  despised  by  the  world. 

God  has  made  small  as  well  as  great,  and  cares  equally  for  them 
(Wisd.  vi.  8).  God  loves  to  declare  His  glory  by  means  of  the  little 
(1  Cor.  i.  27).  He  chose  poor  shepherds  to  receive  the  first  news  of 
the  birth  of  Christ ;  He  chose  poor  fishermen  for  His  apostles ;  a  poor 
maiden  for  His  Mother;  it  is  to  the  humble  that  He  gives  His  grace 
(Jas.  iv.  6).  "He  raises  the  needy  from  the  earth,  and  takes  the 

loS  Faith. 

poor  from  the  dunghill,  that  He  may  place  him  among  princes  "  (Ps. 
cxii.  7,  8). 

Nothing  happens  to  us  all  through  our  lives  without  the  will 
or  the  permission  of  God. 

Hence  the  patriarch  Joseph  says  to  his  brethren,  "  Not  by  your 
counsel  was  I  sent  hither,  but  by  the  will  of  God"  (Gen.  xlv.  8). 
Our  Lord  says  that  the  very  hairs  of  our  head  are  all  numbered,  i.e., 
the  providence  of  God  descends  to  the  smallest  details  of  our  life. 
Hence  there  is  nothing  that  happens  by  chance.  There  are  indeed 
many  things,  the  causes  of  which  we  are  ignorant  of,  but  all  have 
some  cause,  and  God  guides  all.  There  are  many  things  in  the  world 
that  God  does  not  will,  and  of  which  He  is  not  the  cause,  e.g.,  murder, 
theft,  and  every  crime.  "But  God  permits  them,  i.e.,  He  does  not 
prevent  them.  This  is  a  consequence  of  His  having  given  to  man  free 
will.  Moreover,  God  knows  how  to  bring  good  out  of  evil,  and  all  evil 
He  employs  for  His  good  purposes. 

Even  the  evil  that  God  permits  is  for  our  good. 

God,  in  His  love  for  us,  has  in  all  that  happens  to  us  the  intention 
to  make  us  happy.  He  turns  to  our  good  all  temporal  misfortunes, 
the  temptations  of  the  devil,  the  sins  of  other  men.  "  To  those  who 
love  God  all  things  work  together  for  good"  (Rom.  viii.  28).  We 
see  this  in  the  history  of  the  patriarch  Joseph;  his  imprisonment 
was  the  means  of  bringing  him  to  high  honor,  and  of  saving  Egypt 
from  the  horrors  of  famine.  The  captivity  of  the  Jews  was  the  means 
of  spreading  the  knowledge  of  the  true  God  among  heathen  nations 
(Tob.  xiii.  4).  The  persecution  of  the  early  Christians  in  Palestine 
and  in  Home  was  the  means  of  making  known  the  Gospel  in  the 
countries  to  which  they  fled  or  were  banished ;  so,  too,  was  the  expul 
sion  of  the  religious  Orders  from  Italy,  France,  and  Germany  in 
modern  times.  So  again  the  persecution  of  the  Irish  has  done  much 
to  Christianize  America  and  England.  "  The  unbelief  of  St. 
Thomas,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  has  been  more  useful  to  us  than  the 
belief  of  the  other  apostles."  The  sin  of  Peter  made  him  humble 
and  forbearing  towards  others.  The  fury  of  the  Jews  against  Our 
Lord  was  the  instrument  of  the  redemption  of  mankind.  "  How  in 
scrutable  are  God's  judgments  and  how  unsearchable  His  ways  !  " 
(Rom.  xi.  33.)  The  very  means  employed  by  wicked  men  against  the 
saints  were  the  means  of  bringing  them  glory  and  honor. 

3.  For  this  reason  a  pious  Christian  should  resign  himself  en 
tirely  to  the  will  of  God. 

Christ  teaches  us  to  pray :  "  Thy  will  be  done  on  earth,  as  it  is 
in  heaven."  St.  Peter  exhorts  us  to  cast  all  our  care  upon  God,  for 
He  cares  for  us  (1  Pet.  v.  7).  Holy  David  says:  "Though  an  army 
should  stand  in  battle  against  me,  my  heart  will  not  fear  "  (Ps.  xxvi. 
3).  We  must  not  allow  ourselves  to  be  troubled  about  the  arrange 
ments  of  God's  providence,  which  we  cannot  alter,  but  must  resign 
ourselves  to  the  will  of  God,  e.g.,  in  sickness,  loss  of  money,  the  death 
of  those  dear  to  us,  persecution,  war,  etc.  Above  all  we  must  resign 
ourselves  to  the  will  of  God  in  the  hour  of  our  death.  "  He  who  dies 

The  Apostles9  Creed.  139 

resigned  to  the  will  of  God,"  says  St.  Alphonsus,  "  leaves  in  the  minds 
of  others  the  knowledge  that  he  has  saved  his  soul."  In  order  to  gain 
the  friendship  of  men  we  adapt  ourselves  to  their  humors  and  fan 
cies;  but  we  take  too  little  trouble  to  win  the  friendship  of  God  by 
adapting  ourselves  to  His  holy  will. 

The  man  who  cheerfully  resigns  himself  to  the  will  of  God 
obtains  true  peace  of  mind,  attains  great  perfection,  and  will  be 
blessed  by  God. 

The  soul  resigned  to  the  will  of  God  is  like  the  needle  pointing 
to  the  North.  The  soul  that  submits  itself  to  all  God's  arrangements 
has  already  begun  to  live  the  life  of  heaven  upon  earth.  If  trouble 
comes,  its  peace  is  not  disturbed;  every  trial  is  extinguished,  like  a 
spark  that  falls  into  the  sea;  it  loves  sufferings,  because  it  knows 
that  they  come  from  God's  hand.  A  man  resigned  to  God's  will  has 
his  cross  carried  for  him.  He  who  renounces  his  own  will  in  order 
to  carry  out  the  holy  will  of  God,  soon  attains  to  perfection.  Thus 
the  resigning  of  our  will  to  God's  is  the  most  perfect  offering  we  can 
make  Him.  The  man  who  is  resigned  is  like  a  ship  in  the  hands  of 
the  pilot ;  he  is  sure  to  arrive  safely  into  port.  A  farmer  whose  fields 
bore  better  crops  than  those  of  others  was  asked  the  reason  for  it. 
He  answered  that  he  always  got  the  weather  that  he  wanted.  When 
asked  to  explain  himself,  he  replied,  "  I  am  always  content  with  the 
weather  that  God  sends.  This  pleases  God  and  so  He  blesses  my 

Our  Lord  in  the  Garden  of  Gethsemani  is  a  beautiful  exam 
ple  of  submission  to  the  will  of  God. 

Christ's  prayer  was  "  Father,  not  My  will,  but  Thine  be  done." 
He  was  obedient  to  His  heavenlv  Father  even  to  death,  the  death  of 
the  cross  (Phil,  ii,  8).  The  holy  angels  find  their  happiness  in  the 
fulfilment  of  the  will  of  God.  St.  Mary  Magdalen  of  Pazzi  said, 
"  I  would  bear  with  joy  the  heaviest  troubles,  so  soon  as  I  knew  that 
they  were  the  will  of  God."  So  also  said  all  the  saints. 

How  are  the  Misfortunes  of  the  Good  and  the  Prosperity  of  the 
Wicked  to  be  Reconciled  with  the  Providence  of  God  ? 

The  answer  is  that  these  are  only  apparent,  not  real.  Seneca  says 
that  the  prosperity  of  those  who  ore  clad  in  purple  is  often  like  the 
splendor  of  the  actor,  who  is  dressed  up  in  royal  purple.  The  sinner 
after  a  time  loses  all  enjoyment  from  his  sins. 

1.  ~No  sinner  has  true  happiness,  and  no  servant  of  God  true 
misery.  For  true  happiness  is  impossible  without  inner  peace 
and  contentment;  and  this  is  possessed  by  the  true  servant  of 
God,  but  not  by  the  sinner. 

The  world,  i.e.,  riches,  honors,  sensual  pleasures,  eating,  drinking, 
etc.,  can  never  give  us  true  peace  (John  xiv.  27).  This  can  only  be 
attained  by  following  the  teaching  of  Christ.  True  peace  and  hap- 

140  Faith. 

piness  are  the  fruits  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  The  wicked  have  no  peace; 
they  are  like  the  raging  sea,  which  cannot  rest  (Is.  Ivii.  20).  Peace 
and  happiness  do  not  come  of  riches,  or  of  a  high  position,  or  of 
bodily  strength,  or  of  intellectual  vigor ;  still  less  do  they  come  from 
the  wearing  of  fine  clothes,  or  from  the  enjoyment  of  rich  feasts,  but 
from  peace  of  soul  and  a  good  conscience.  The  beggar  at  the  gate  of 
the  rich  Dives  was  a  happier  man,  even  in  this  world,  than  Dives  him 

2.  Moreover  the  good  fortune  of  the  sinner  is  for  the  most 
part  only  transitory. 

The  prosperity  of  the  wicked  is  like  the  cedar  of  Lebanon,  which 
in  a  few  hours  is  cut  down  and  is  no  more  seen.  It  is  a  building 
built  on  sand:  the  storms  and  winds  soon  lay  it  low.  How  quickly 
Napoleon  the  Great  fell  from  the  height  to  which  his  vaulting  ambi 
tion  had  raised  him  at  the  cost  of  so  many  lives  ! 

3.  The  real  ^  jcompense  of  man  only  begins  after  death. 

Hence  Our  Lord  says,  "  Many  that  are  first  shall  be  last,  and  the 
last  first"  (Matt.  xix.  30).  Many  rich  and  distinguished  men  will 
be  far  below  those  who  have  been  beggars  at  their  door.  God  has  pro 
vided  for  His  friends  in  the  next  life  an  enjoyment  and  happiness 
far  surpassing  any  enjoyments  on  this  earth.  This  is  the  explanation 
of  the  apparent  injustice  of  the  present  life.  Our  Lord  says  to  His 
disciples,  "  Amen,  Amen,  I  say  to  you,  that  you  shall  lament  and 
weep,  and  the  world  shall  rejoice;  and  you  shall  be  made  sorrowful, 
but  your  sorrow  shall  be  turned  into  joy"  (John  xvi.  20). 

4.  Sinners  are  rewarded  on  this  earth  for  the  little  good  that 
they  have  done-.     The  just  on  the  other  hand  are  for  the  most 
part  punished  in  this  life  for  the  evil  they  have  done. 

Our  Lord  says,  "  Woe  to  you  that  are  rich ;  for  you  have  your  con 
solation,"  i.e.,  your  reward  for  the  good  you  have  done  is  given  you 
in  this  world  (Luke  vi.  24). 

How  is  Sin  to  be  Reconciled  with  the  Providence  of  God? 

1.  It  is  not  God  Who  is  responsible  for  sin  and  its  conse 
quences,  but  man's  wrong  use  of  his  free  will. 

God  created  man  free,  and  therefore  does  not  hinder  even  those 
free  actions  which  are  evil.  There  are  also  many  reasons  why  He 
should  not  hinder  evil.  If  there  were  no  evil  in  the  world,  man  would 
have  no  opportunity  of  doing  what  is  good;  he  would  not  have  the 
choice  between  good  and  evil,  and  would  not  be  able  to  earn  the 
reward  of  good  accomplished.  Compare  the  parable  of  the  cockle 
among  the  wheat.  "  God,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  would  never  have  per 
mitted  evil  if  He  had  not  intended  to  bring  some  greater  good  out 
of  it." 

2.  God  in  His  wisdom  employs  even  sin  for  a  good  end. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  HI 

The  patriarch  Joseph  very  truly  said  to  his  brethren,  "  You 
thought  evil  against  me,  but  God  turned  it  into  good"  (Gen.  1.  20). 
God  turned  to  good  even  the  treachery  of  Judas;  it  contributed  to 
the  work  of  man's  redemption.  The  bee  makes  honey  out  of  poi 
sonous  plants ;  the  potter  makes  beautiful  vessels  out  of  dirty  earth. 
God  does  something  similar  to  this. 

3.  Besides,  it  does  not  become  us  to  pry  into  the  secret 
designs  of  God;  we  poor  miserable  creatures  must  adore  His 
wisdom  and  submit  ourselves  humbly  to  what  He  ordains. 

What  is  true  of  sin,  is  true  of  all  the  suffering  that  is  the  con 
sequence  of  sin. 


Man  can  suffer  in  body  or  soul  or  both.  The  apostles,  when  they 
were  scourged  (Acts  v.  41),  suffered  in  body;  Judas,  when  he  threw 
down  the  pieces  of  silver  in  the  Temple,  suffered  in  his  soul.  Holy 
Job  suffered  in  both.  Suffering  is  either  merited  or  unmerited.  The 
sufferings  of  the  prodigal  son  were  merited,  those  of  the  patriarch 
Joseph  were  unmerited.  Yet  all  sufferings  are  merited  by  original 

1.  No  one  can  attain  to  eternal  salvation  without  suffering. 

"  No  one  is  crowned  unless  he  strive  lawfully  "  (2  Tim. 
ii.  5). 

Even  Christ  had  to  enter  into  His  glory  through  suffering  (Luke 
xxiv.  26).  Our  Lord  says  "He  that  taketh  not  up  his  cross  and 
followeth  after  Me,  is  not  worthy  of  Me"  (Matt.  x.  38).  The  road 
to  heaven  is  a  rough  one.  In  order  to  make  the  flax  that  grows  in 
the  earth  into  pure  white  linen,  it  must  be  rubbed,  stretched,  and 
thoroughly  cleansed,  and  woven.  The  corn  has  to  be  threshed  and 
winnowed ;  the  pure  gold  has  to  pass  through  fire.  Not  to  suffer  is  a 
sign  that  no  future  happiness  is  in  store  for  you.  Suffering  and 
holiness  are  inseparably  bound  up  together.  There  is  no  good  work 
that  does  not  meet  with  obstacles,  no  virtue  that  does  not  have  to 
fight  and  struggle. 

For  this  reason  God  leaves  no  just  man  without  suffering. 

God  treats  us  as  a  physician  treats  his  patients;  those  of  whose 
recovery  he  despairs  he  leaves  alone;  but  to  those  whom  he  hopes  to 
cure,  he  administers  bitter  medicines.  As  milk  is  the  food  of  chil 
dren,  so  are  contradictions  the  food  of  God's  elect.  To  His  chosen 
God  gives  a  sword  on  earth  to  pierce  their  hea'rt,  and  a  crown  in 
heaven  to  adorn  their  heads.  Yet  God  mingles  with  the  bitterness  of 
suffering  the  sweets  of  consolation.  We  see  this  throughout  the  his 
tory  of  Our  Lady,  which  consists  of  alternate  joys  and  sorrows.  So, 
too,  we  celebrate  the  seven  joys  and  sorrows  of  St.  Joseph. 

2.  All  suffering  comes  from  God,  and  is  a  sign  of  His  love  and 

142  Faith. 

We  find  in  the  lives  of  the  saints  that  the  more  good  works  they 
undertook  for  God,  the  more  did  suffering  assail  them,  as  in  the  case 
of  Tobias,  and  of  holy  Job.  Sufferings  seem  to  be  the  reward  of  good 
works  performed.  They  are  a  precious  gift,  which  will  avail  us  to  all 
eternity.  To  suffer  something  for  God  is  in  itself  a  great  privilege  and 
honor.  It  is  a  better  gift  than  that  of  performing  miracles  and  rais 
ing  the  dead.  Parents  often  punish  their  children  to  cure  them  of 
their  faults.  If  they  see  the  same  faults  in  the  children  of  others, 
they  do  not  trouble  themselves  about  them,  because  they  do  not  care 
for  them.  So  it  is  with  God;  the  children  whom  He  loves  He  often 
corrects.  Hence  Raphael  said  to  Tobias,  "  Because  thou  wast  pleas 
ing  to  God,  it  was  necessary  that  temptation  should  prove  thee" 
(Tob.  xii.  13).  St.  Paul  says,  "  Whom  the  Lord  loveth  He  chastiseth; 
and  scourgeth  every  son  whom  He  receiveth  "  (Heb.  xii.  6).  "Gold 
and  silver  are  tried  in  the  fire,  and  acceptable  men  in  the  furnace  of 
tribulation"  (Ecclus.  ii.  5).  The  greater  a  saint,  the  greater  were 
in  most  cases  his  sufferings.  Our  Lady  was  the  Queen  of  martyrs. 
The  apostles  had  to  suffer  much,  especially  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul 
(Of.  2  Cor.  xi.  23,  seq.}.  To  be  free  from  suffering  is  a  bad  sign. 
St.  Augustine  says :  "  There  is  no  greater  misfortune  than  the  good 
fortune  of  sinners.  He  who  does  not  suffer  now  will  have  to  suffer 

Yet  God  never  sends  us  any  suffering  that  is  beyond  our 
powers  of  endurance. 

St.  Paul  says  "  God  is  faithful ;  Who  will  not  permit  you  to  suffer 
above  that  which  you  are  able"  (1  Cor.  x.  13).  The  peasant  knows 
how  much  his  beast  of  burden  can  carry,  and  does  not  load  him 
beyond  his  strength.  Will  God,  the  all-wise,  the  all-merciful,  lay 
more  on  us  than  we  can  bear?  The  potter  does  not  leave  his  vessels 
too  long  in  the  fire  lest  they  should  crack.  He  who  plays  on  an  in 
strument  is  careful  not  to  tighten  the  strings  too  much,  lest  they 
should  break;  nor  too  little,  for  then  they  would  produce  no  sound. 
The  physician  apportions  his  remedies  to  the  power  of  his  patient; 
so  the  heavenly  Physician  sends  us  sufferings  in  proportion  to  our 
power  of  bearing  them.  There  are  some  people  who  make  sufferings 
for  themselves,  because  they  find  fault  with  what  gives  no  cause  for 
complaint.  Even  in  real  sufferings  much  complaining  is  a  sign  of 
f  aint-heartedness  and  makes  us  more  sensible  to  suffering. 

3.  God  sends  suffering  to  the  sinner  to  bring  him  back  into 
the  right  way  and  to  save  him  from  eternal  death. 

How  many  have  been  converted  by  means  of  sufferings,  e.g.,  Man- 
asses  in  the  prison  at  Babylon  (2  Paral.  xxxiii.  12,  13),  Jonas,  the 
prodigal  son,  even  the  wicked  Achab  (3  Kings  xxi.  27).  God  is  like 
a  surgeon,  who  cuts  away  the  diseased  flesh  that  it  may  not  cause 
death.  Sufferings  also  bring  about  a  disgust  for  earthly  things  and 
make  the  sinfnl  plensures  of  the  world  bitter;  they  destroy  our  depen 
dence  on  earthly  things,  and  take  away  the  desire  for  the  enjoyments 
and  the  pleasures  of  this  valley  of  tears,  and  turn  our  thoughts  to 
heaven.  Sufferings  again  impress  upon  us  our  own  helplessness,  com 
pel  us  to  have  recourse  to  God  in  prayer.  They  teach  us  a  knowledge  of 

TJie  Apostles   Creed.  143 

ourselves  and  o^  our  own  sinfulness.  As  the  trees,  after  the  winter, 
flower  and  bring  forth  fruit,  so  does  man  after  suffering  bring  forth 
works  pleasing  to  God.  "  Sufferings,"  says  St.  Teresa,  "  though  very 
hard  to  bear,  are  the  surest  way  to  God." 

God  frequently  sends  bodily  sickness  to  the  sinner  for  the 
healing  of  the  sickness  of  his  soul. 

How  many  there  are  who  have  been  converted  to  God  through  the 
means  of  bodily  sickness,  e.g.,  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  and  St.  Ignatius 
of  Loyola.  The  Wise  Man  says,  "A  grievous  sickness  makes  the 
soul  sober"  (Ecclus.  xxxi.  2).  In  sickness  God  knocks  at  the  door 
of  the  heart  and  asks  for  admission.  "  I  am  always  glad,"  said  St. 
Ignatius,  "  when  I  see  a  sinner  fall  ill,  for  sickness  brings  back  to 
God."  How  foolish  it  is  then  to  regard  sickness  as  a  mark  of  God's 
anger,  when  it  is  really  a  mark  of  His  compassion. 

4.  God  sends  suffering  to  the  just  man  to  try  him  whether  he 
loves  God  most  or  creatures. 

Job,  who  had  always  lived  a  God-fearing  life,  lost  all  his  prop 
erty,  his  children,  and  his  health,  and  was  derided  by  his  wife  and  his 
friends.  Tobias  had  buried  the  dead  at  the  peril  of  his  life  and 
given  most  liberal  alms.  God  took  away  his  sight,  and  left  him 
poor  and  unable  to  earn  anything  for  himself.  Thus  God  tries  His 
friends.  As  the  storm  tests  the  tree,  whether  it  is  firmly  rooted, 
so  suffering  tests  the  just,  whether  they  are  firmly  established  in  their 
love  of  God.  As  the  wind  separates  the  chaff  from  the  wheat,  so 
trouble  marks  off  the  sinner  from  the  just.  Sweet  herbs  smell  the 
sweetest  when  they  are  bruised ;  so  the  just  are  most  pleasing  to  God 
in  the  time  of  tribulation.  God  often  takes  away  from  us  what  we 
love  best,  and  that  which  is  injurious  or  dangerous,  just  as  a  father 
takes  from  his  little  child  a  razor  or  sharp  knife. 

At  the  same  time  the  sufferings  of  the  just  man  are  a  great 
advantage  to  him;  they  serve  him  as  a  penance  for  his  sins;  they 
cleanse  him  from  all  imperfections ;  increase  his  zeal  in  the  prac 
tice  of  good,  in  the  love  of  God,  and  in  the  love  of  prayer;  they 
also  increase  his  merit  in  heaven,  and  often,  too,  his  happiness 
in  this  world. 

By  sufferings  the  punishment  due  for  sin  is  cancelled.  Hence  St. 
Augustine  prayed,  "  In  this  life,  O  Lord,  burn,  scorch,  and  wound  me, 
only  spare  me  in  the  life  to  come."  "  Think  yourself  happy,"  said 
St.  Francis  Xavier,  "  if  you  can  exchange  the  agonizing  pains  of 
purgatory  for  sufferings  in  this  world."  Sufferings  also  purify  the 
soul  from  its  imperfections.  Gold  is  tried  in  the  fire;  so  the  soul  is 
purged  by  suffering.  "  Every  branch  that  bears  fruit  God  purges, 
that  it  may  bring  forth  more  fruit "  (John  xv.  2).  A  sharp  file  cleanses 
iron  from  rust.  As  soap  cleanses  the  body,  so  suffering  cleanses  the 
soul.  Suffering  also  increases  our  strength,  just  as  the  blows  of  the 
hammer  make  the  iron  stronger  and  harder.  Toil  strengthens  the 
body ;  suffering  strengthens  the  soul.  The  vessels  ^that  the  potter 
places  in  the  fire  come  out  hard  and  strong.  Suffering  also  adds  to 

144  Faith. 

our  love  of  God.  As  the  ark  of  Noe  was  raised  nearer  to  heaven 
by  the  floods  that  overspread  the  earth,  so  we  are  brought  nearer  to 
heaven  and  to  God  by  the  floods  of  suffering.  As  the  gold  leaf  is 
spread  out  by  the  blows  of  the  hammer,  so  our  love  of  God  is  extended 
by  suffering.  Sufferings  detach  us  from  the  love  of  earthly  things, 
and  destroy  our  love  of  this  world.  Hence  St.  Augustine  prayed, 
"  Make  all  things  bitter  to  me,  that  so  Thou  alone  mayest  appear 
sweet  to  my  soul."  Sufferings  also  increase  our  gratitude  to  God, 
for  the  loss  of  health  and  other  gifts  of  God  makes  us  value 
what  we  have  lost.  Sufferings  also  make  us  humble.  The  just 
must  be  tried  by  evil,  that  so  they  may  not  grow  proud  of  their 
virtues.  Sufferings  also  increase  the  earnestness  of  our  prayers. 
They  compel  us  to  pray.  We  see  this  in  the  case  of  the  apostles 
in  the  storm-tossed  boat.  The  prayers  of  David  under  persecu 
tion  have  become  the  prayers  of  the  Church.  Long  peace  makes 
us  careless  and  slack.  The  ox  that  is  not  stirred  by  the  goad 
becomes  lazy.  Sufferings  are  often  the  means  of  bringing  us  to 
prosperity  even  in  this  world.  Witness  Job,  the  patriarch  Joseph, 
and  Tobias.  "  The  Lord  maketh  poor  and  maketh  rich;  He  humbleth 
and  He  exalteth"  (1  Kings  ii.  7).  "You  shall  be  sorrowful,"  says 
Our  Lord,  "  but  your  sorrow  shall  be  turned  into  joy  "  ( John  xvi.  20). 
Lastly,  sufferings  increase  our  eternal  happiness.  Our  present  mo 
mentary  and  light  tribulation  worketh  for  us  above  measure  ex 
ceedingly  an  eternal  weight  of  glory  (2  Cor.  iv.  17).  The  just  are 
ripened  for  heaven  by  suffering,  as  ears  of  corn  are  ripened  by  the 
heat  of  the  sun.  Jewels  are  rendered  more  beautiful  by  being  ground 
and  polished.  "  When  God  sends  us  some  great  trouble,"  says  St. 
Ignatius,  "  it  is  a  sign  that  He  designs  great  things  for  us,  and 
desires  to  raise  us  to  great  holiness."  Nay,  the  more  we  suffer  in  this 
life,  the  greater  will  be  our  reward  in  the  life  to  come.  "  To  those 
who  love  God  all  things  work  together  for  good"  (Rom.  viii.  28). 
Give  yourself  up,  then,  to  God's  guidance,  for  He  allows  nothing  to 
happen  you  which  will  not  be  for  your  advantage,  though  you  may  see 
it  not.  What  pruning  is  to  the  fruit-tree,  suffering  is  to  men. 

5.  Sufferings  then  are  no  real  evil,  but  are  benefits  from  the 
hand  of  God. 

They  are  the  means  of  bringing  us  both  to  temporal  and  eter 
nal  happiness. 

God,  Who  loves  us  tenderly,  has  no  other  object  in  sending  us 
sufferings  but  to  make  us  happy.  What  we  count  as  an  evil  is  the 
bitterness  of  the  medicine  that  is  necessary  for  the  health  of  our 
soul.  There  is  really  no  evil  in  the  world  except  sin.  Sufferings  can 
never  really  make  us  unhappy;  men  can  be  happy  in  spite  of  all 
kinds  of  sufferings.  We  see  this  in  Job,  in  Tobias,  in  Our  Lady. 
St.  Paul  says,  "  I  am  filled  with  comfort ;  I  exceedingly  abound  with 
joy  in  all  our  tribulation"  (2  Cor.  vii.  4). 

6.  For  this  reason  we  should  be  patient  under  suffering,  and 
should  resign  ourselves  to  the  will  of  God. 

Nay,  more,  we  should  rejoice  in  suffering,  and  thank  God 
for  it. 

Tlie  Apostles'  Creed.  145 

We  should  say  with  Job,  "  As  it  hath  pleased  the  Lord,  so  it  is 
done;  blessed  be  the  name  of  the  Lord  "  (Job  i.  21),  or  with  Our  Lord 
in  the  Garden  of  Olives,  "  Not  My  will,  but  Thine  be  done."  We 
should  behave  as  a  sensible  man  behaves  when  he  is  sick ;  he  willingly 
obeys  the  injunctions  of  the  physician.  God  has  lightened  our  suf 
ferings  for  us,  not  only  by  His  own  example,  but  also  by  the  promise 
of  an  eternal  reward.  See  how  the  apostles  rejoiced  in  their  scourg 
ing  (Acts  v.  41).  The  Christian  under  suffering  should  rejoice  as 
a  workman  rejoices  who  labors  much,  and  looks  forward  to  good 
pay,  or  as  a  tradesman,  who  amid  the  toilsome  monotony  of  'his  busi 
ness,  thinks  of  the  delightful  holiday  that  is  not  far  off.  We  must 
grasp  sufferings  as  men  grasp  stinging  nettles  if  they  do  not  wish  to 
be  stung,  firmly  and  boldly,  not  lightly  and  timorously;  then  they 
will  do  us  no  harm.  In  suffering  we  should  repeat  again  and 
again  the  Gloria  Palri.  Men  too  often  grumble  and  grow  impa 
tient  under  their  sufferings.  If  a  man  asks  the  return  of  some 
thing  he  has  lent  us,  we  give  it  back  with  thanks;  but  if  God 
does  so,  we  grumble  and  are  discontented.  This  want  of  patience 
increases  our  sufferings,  besides  offending  God.  The  impatient  are 
like  oxen,  who  kick  against  the  goad  and  only  wound  themselves 
the  more.  Yet  it  is  no  sin  to  be  sorrowful  and  troubled  under  suffer 
ing;  for  Our  Lord  in  the  Garden  of  Olives  was  sorrowful  even  unto 
death.  We  must  never  despond  in  evil  days,  for  after  sorrow  and  suf 
fering  come  joy  and  gladness. 

By  patience  under  suffering  we  quickly  attain  to  a  high 
degree  of  perfection,  and  lay  up  for  ourselves  a  great  store  of 

When  we  resign  ourselves  patiently  to  the  will  of  God  amid  con 
tradictions,  we  are  like  a  ship  carried  on  by  a  strong  breeze,  and  sail 
rapidly  to  the  haven  of  eternal  rest.  "  Blessed  is  the  man  that 
endureth  temptation;  for  when  he  has  been  proved,  he  will  receive  a 
crown  of  life  which  God  hath  promised  to  them  that  love  Him  "  ( Jas. 
i.  12). 

From  our  willingness  to  suffer  can  be  ascertained  how  far 
we  have  advanced  in  perfection. 

The  courage  of  a  soldier  displays  itself,  not  in  peace,  but  in  war. 
The  sinner  murmurs  under  suffering ;  the  beginner  is  troubled,  but  is 
sorry  for  his  impatience ;  the  man  more  advanced  in  virtue  is  fright 
ened,  but  takes  courage  and  praises  God;  the  perfect  man  does  not 
wait  for  suffering,  but  goes  boldly  to  meet  it.  The  perfect  do  not 
ask  God  that  they  may  be  free  from  temptation  or  from  puffering. 
They  desire  it,  and  value  it  as  highly  as  men  of  the  world  value 
riches  and  gold  and  precious  stones.  Hence  the  prayer  of  St.  Teresa 
was  either  to  suffer  or  to  die.  "  He  who  is  able,"  says  St.  Francis  of 
Sales,  "  to  thank  God  equally  for  chastisement  and  for  prosperity, 
has  arrived  at  the  summit  of  Christian  perfection,  and  will  find  his 
happiness  in  God." 

146  Faith. 

8.   THE  ANGELS. 
1.  The  angels  are  pure  spirits. 
They  can,  however,  take  a  visible  form. 

The  angels  are  pure  spirits  without  bodies,  whereas  men  have  both 
body  and  spirit.  Yet  the  angels  can  take  to  themselves  a  bodily  form, 
as  did  St.  Eaphael  (Tob.  v.  18),  when  he  undertook  to  accompany 
the  young  Tobias  on  his  journey.  At  the  sepulchre  of  Our  Lord, 
after  the  resurrection,  the  angels  appeared  in  the  form  of  young 
men,  and  the  same  was  the  case  after  Our  Lord's  ascension  (Mark 
xvi.  5;  Actsi.  10). 

The  nature  of  the  angels  is  nobler  than  that  of  man;  they 
have  greater  knowledge  and  greater  power. 

The  angels  excel  all  other  beings  that  Our  Lord  has  created.  Our 
Lord  says  that  not  even  the  angels  know  when  the  Day  of  Judgment 
will  come  (Matt.  xxiv.  36),  thereby  indicating  that  their  knowledge 
is  greater  than  that  of  men.  So  also  is  their  power.  An  angel  de 
stroyed  all  the  first-born  of  Egypt.  Another  angel  caused  the  death 
of  one  hundred  and  eighty-five  thousand  soldiers  of  the  King  of 
Assyria,  who  had  blasphemed  God  (Is.  xxxvii.  36).  An  angel  pro 
tected  the  three  young  men  in  the  furnace  at  Babylon  (Dan.  iii. 

God  created  the  angels  for  His  own  glory  and  service,  as 
well  as  for  their  own  happiness. 

Among  all  the  creatures  that  God  has  made,  the  angels  resemble 
Him  the  most,  and  therefore  the  divine  perfections  shine  forth  the 
most  brightly  in  them.  They  also  glorify  God  by  ceaselessly  singing 
hymns  of  praise  to  Him  in  heaven.  The  angels  also  serve  God.  The 
word  angel  signifies  messenger.  "  Are  they  not  all  ministering 
spirits,"  says  St.  Paul,  "  sent  forth  to  minister  to  them  that  shall  re 
ceive  the  inheritance  of  salvation?"  (Heb.  i.  14.)  Even  the  bad 
angels  promote  the  glory  of  God,  for  God  turns  their  attacks  on  us 
to  His  glory  and  our  profit.  Goethe  rightly  describes  Satan  as  "  a 
power  that  always  wills  evil,  and  effects  good." 

The  number  of  the  angels  is  immeasurably  great. 

Daniel,  in  describing  the  throne  of  God  says :  "  Thousands  of 
thousands  ministered  to  Him;  and  ten  thousand  times  a  hundred 
thousand  stood  before  Him"  (Dan.  vii.  10).  Holy  Scripture  calls 
them  the  heavenly  host.  In  the  Garden  of  Olives  Our  Lord  said  that 
if  He  were  to  ask  the  Father,  He  would  presently  send  Him  twelve 
legions  of  angels  (Matt.  xxvi.  53).  The  number  of  the  angels  is 
greater  than  that  of  all  men  who  ever  have  lived  or  ever  will  live. 
"  The  number  of  the  angels,"  says  St.  Dionysius  the  Areopagite,  "  is 
greater  than  that  of  the  stars  in  heaven,  or  of  the  grains  of  sand  on 
the  seashore." 

The  angels  are  not  all  equal;  there  are  nine  choirs  or  ranks 
among  them. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  147 

The  rank  of  the  angels  is  determined  by  the  amount  of  the  gifts 
that  God  has  given  them,  and  according  to  the  office  assigned  them. 
Nearest  to  the  throne  of  God  are  the  seraphim,  who  burn  more  than 
the  rest  with  the  love  of  God;  next  to  them  are  the  cherubim,  who  are 
distinguished  by  the  vastness  of  their  knowledge.  We  also  read  in 
Scripture  of  thrones,  dominations,  principalities,  powers,  and  also  of 
three  archangels,  St.  Michael,  St.  Gabriel,  and  St.  Raphael.  There 
is  also  a  corresponding  division  among  the  fallen  angels. 

2.  All  the  angels  whom  God  created  were,  at  the  beginning, 
in  the  grace  of  God  and  well  pleasing  to  Him.    But  many  of  the 
angels  sinned  through  pride,  and  were  cast  down  by  God  into  hell 
forever  (2  Pet.  ii.  4). 

When  God  created  the  angels,  He  created  them  all  in  His  grace. 
But  none  can  be  crowned  without  a  struggle  (2  Tim.  ii.  5),  and  God 
subjected  the  angels  to  trial,  that  so,  according  to  the  universal  law  of 
the  universe,  they  might  earn  their  reward  of  eternal  happiness. 
In  this  trial  a  large  number  of  the  angels  fell.  They  desired  to  be 
equal  to  God,  and  refused  to  submit  their  will  to  His  (Cf.  Is.  xiv. 
12-14).  They  did  not  abide  in  the  truth  (John  viii.  44).  Hence 
arose  a  great  war  in  heaven.  Michael  and  his  angels  fought  with  the 
dragon,  and  the  dragon  and  his  angels  fought,  and  prevailed  not, 
neither  was  their  place  found  any  more  in  heaven.  The  dragon 
was  cast  out  and  all  his  angels  with  him  (Apoc.  xii.  8,  9).  They 
were  all  cast  down  to  hell;  not  that  they  were  confined  to  any  local 
hell,  for  they  are  allowed  to  wander  about  the  earth  tempting  men, 
but  they  carry  their  hell  with  them  wherever  they  go,  inasmuch  as 
they  everywhere  suffer  the  torments  of  hell.  Their  leader  was  Satan, 
or  Lucifer,  for  this  was  his  name  before  he  fell,  and  he  is  said  to  have 
been  the  highest  of  all  the  angels.  The  number  of  the  fallen  angels  is 
less  than  that  of  those  who  remained  faithful.  The  fall  of  the  angels 
was  the  more  terrible,  because  they  had  previously  enjoyed  such  a  high 
estate.  The  higher  the  place  from  which  we  fall,  the  worse  the  fall. 
At  the  Last  Day  the  evil  angels  will  be  judged,  and  their  wickedness 
and  its  punishment  will  be  made  known  to  the  whole  world  ( Jude  6 ; 
2  Pet.  ii.  4).  To  deny  the  existence  of  the  evil  angels  is  a  grievous  sin 
against  faith. 

3.  The  evil  angels  are  our  enemies;  they  envy  us,  seek  to  lead 
us  to  sin,  and  can,  with  God's  permission,  injure  us  in  our  bodies, 
or  in  our  worldly  goods. 

The  evil  spirits  are  our  enemies.  With  all  their  spite  they  can  do 
nothing  against  God;  so  they  vent  their  fury  against  men,  who  bear 
the  image  of  God.  Many  theologians  have  asserted  that  the  places 
of  the  angels  who  fell  will  be  filled  in  heaven  by  men.  "  The  knowl 
edge  that  a  creature  of  earth  will  occupy  his  place  in  heaven,"  says 
St.  Thomas,  "  causes  the  devil  more  pain  than  the  flames  of  hell."  It 
was  the  devil  who  led  our  first  parents  to  sin,  and  also  Judas  (John 
xiii.  27).  The  devil  can  also,  so  far  as  God  permits,  injure  the 
bodies  and  the  goods  of  men,  as  in  the  case  of  Job  and  the  possessed 
in  Our  Lord's  time.  The  devil's  great  object  is  to  effect  the  ruin  of  the 
Church,  which  he  knows  is  to  be  the  means  of  destroying  his  power 

148  Faith. 

on  earth  (Matt.  xvi.  18 ;  Luke  xxii.  31).  He  also  knows  that  he  and  his 
angels  will  one  day  be  judged  by  the  saints  (1  Cor.  vi.  3).  Many  be 
lieve  that  as  God  assigns  to  each  child  at  its  birth  a  guardian  angel, 
so  the  devil  assigns  to  each  a  special  devil  to  tempt  it.  Hence  we 
must  imitate  the  Jews  when  rebuilding  the  Temple  (2  Esdr.  iv.  17). 
We  must  work  with  one  hand  and  with  the  other  defend  ourselves 
against  the  foe. 

Yet  the  devil  cannot  do  real  harm  to  any  one  who  keeps 
the  commandments  of  God  and  avoids  all  sin. 

The  dog  that  is  tied  up  cannot  do  any  harm  to  those  who  keep 
out  of  range  of  his  chain.  The  devil  is  like  this  dog.  He  can  work  on 
our  memory  and  our  imagination,  but  he  has  no  power  over  our  will 
or  our  understanding.  He  can  persuade  us,  but  he  cannot  compel  us 
to  evil.  We  must  therefore  energetically  and  promptly  repel  all  bad 
thoughts  that  the  devil  puts  into  our  heads.  "  Resist  the  devil,"  says 
St.  James  (iv.  7),  "  and  he  will  fly  from  you."  Our  Lord  dispatched 
the  devil  very  promptly  when  He  said  "  Begone,  Satan !  "  It  is  a 
great  thing  to  treat  the  devil  and  his  temptations  with  great  con 
tempt,  and  also  to  turn  our  thoughts  to  other  things,  and  not  allow 
ourselves  to  be  disturbed  or  troubled  by  his  suggestions.  He  who 
allows  himself  to  dwell  on  evil  thoughts  draws  near  to  the  dog 
who  is  chained,  and  is  almost  sure  to  be  bitten  by  him.  If  the  devil 
were  allowed  to  use  his  full  power  against  us  we  could  not  resist  him, 
for  when  he  fell  he  did  not  lose  any  of  his  natural  powers,  though 
he  lost  eternal  happiness. 

God  gives  the  devil  special  power  over  some  men: 

1.  God  often  allows  men  who  are  striving  after  high  perfec 
tion,  whom  He  especially  favors,  to  be  tried  by  the  devil  for  long 
years  in  some  extraordinary  way,  in  order  to  cleanse  them  from 
their  imperfections,  and  thoroughly  humble  them. 

God  allows  His  elect  to  be  constantly  besieged  by  the  devil 
for  years,  and  to  endure  temptations  of  extraordinary  violence. 
Sometimes  the  devil  appears  to  them  in  visible  form;  sometimes  he 
assails  their  ears  with  hideous  sounds ;  sometimes  he  is  permitted  to 
strike  them  and  to  throw  them  on  the  ground.  God  protects  their 
life,  but  allows  the  devil  to  torment  them  with  bodily  pain  and  with 
sickness.  They  suffer  the  most  terrible  temptations  against  faith 
and  against  purity.  The  evil  one  has  no  power  over  their  souls,  but 
sometimes  God  allows  him  power  over  their  bodies,  so  that  they  do 
and  say  the  most  extraordinary  things  in  spite  of  themselves,  in  order 
that  so  they  may  be  humbled  in  the  eyes  of  men.  Sometimes  they 
even  pour  forth  blasphemous  words,  and  have  no  power  to  prevent 
themselves  from  doing  so.  These  assaults  of  the  devil  are  called  ob 
session.  Holy  Job  was  assailed  by  the  devil ;  and  so  was  Our  Lord  in 
the  desert;  so  were  St.  Anthony,  St.  Teresa,  St.  Mary  Magdalen  of 
Pazzi,  the  Cure  d'Ars,  and  many  other  saints.  These  holy  persons 
knew  that  God  would  never  allow  them  to  be  tempted  beyond  their 
powers  of  resistance,  and  that  God  permitted  these  temptations  for 
their  greater  sanctification.  They  were  perfectly  resigned  to  the  will 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  149 

of  God,  and  at  length  drove  away  the  devil  by  their  fearless  resistance 
to  his  assaults.  Thus  when  the  devil  threatened  the  life  of  St.  Catha 
rine  of  Sienna,  she  answered,  "  Do  what  you  can ;  what  is  pleasing  to 
God  is  pleasing  to  me."  St.  Mary  Magdalen  of  Pazzi  said  to  him, 
"  You  do  not  seem  to  know  that  you  are  preparing  for  me  a  glorious 
victory."  St.  Anthony  in  the  desert  defied  him,  saying,  "  How  feeble 
you  are  !  I  suppose  that  is  why  you  are  bringing  such  a  crowd  of 
devils  to  tempt  me."  When  those  who  are  tempted  meet  the  devil 
with  the  courage  of  a  lion,  he  has  no  more  power  against  them  than 
a  startled  hare,  but  when  they  fear  him,  then  he  comes  on  with  all  the 
force  and  boldness  of  a  lion.  He  can  always  be  driven  away  by  the 
means  of  grace  provided  by  the  Church;  by  the  sign  of  the  cross,  by 
invoking  the  name  of  Jesus  and  Mary,  by  holy  water,  by  earnest 
prayer,  by  the  use  of  relics,  etc.  The  more  violent  the  assaults  of 
the  devil,  the  greater  will  be  the  protection  afforded  by  almighty  God 
to  His  servants;  often  during  times  of  trial  they  have  revelations 
from  God,  or  saints  and  angels  appear  to  them  to  console  and 
strengthen  them.  Those  who  deny  the  reality  of  these  occurrences, 
of  which  we  so  often  read  in  the  lives  of  the  saints,  show  very  little 
acquaintance  with  the  spiritual  life.  Yet  it  is  the  spirit  of  the 
Church  to  receive  all  accounts  of  these  preternatural  and  super 
natural  occurrences  with  great  caution,  as  there  is  always  a  danger 
of  illusion  or  deceit.  Nor  need  ordinary  mortals  fear  such  special 
attacks  of  the  evil  one ;  they  are  reserved  for  the  special  friends  and 
favorites  of  God. 

2.  It  also  sometimes  happens  that  God  allows  men  of  vicious 
lives,  or  those  who  sin  against  faith,  to  be  punished  or  led  astray 
by  evil  spirits. 

God  sometimes  permits  that  the  bodies  of  men  who  have  given 
themselves  over  to  the  indulgence  of  their  passions  be  possessed  by 
evil  spirits,  as  a  town  is  occupied  by  a  general  who  has  conquered  it. 
This  state  is  called  possession.  In  the  time  of  Our  Lord  there  were 
many  thus  possessed,  and  who  in  consequence  were  dumb  (Matt.  ix. 
32),  blind  (Matt.  xii.  22),  and  exceeding  fierce  (Matt.  viii.  28).  God 
permitted  that  then  there  should  be  many  such,  that  He  might  show 
the  power  of  the  Son  of  'God  and  the  feebleness  of  the  devils  in  His 
presence,  and  that  He  might  drive  them  forth  from  those  whom 
they  tormented.  Yet  it  does  not  follow  that  all  who  were  possessed 
were  necessarily  so  through  their  own  fault.  Some  children  were 
possessed  from  their  birth  (Mark  ix.  20).  Sometimes  God  allowed 
even  holy  men  to  be  possessed  for  a  time;  but  more  often  it  was  a 
punishment  for  grievous  sin,  and  especially  for  a  deliberate  friend 
ship  with  the  devil,  as  was  the  case  with  the  witch  of  Endor  (1  Kings 
xxviii.  7  seq. ;  Cf.  Acts  xvi.  16).  Such  cases  are  not  unfrequent  now 
in  pagan  countries.  God  also  permits  the  evil  spirits  to  mislead 
those  who  practise  spiritualism,  which  consists  in  the  invoking  of 
the  spirits  of  the  dead  in  order  to  discover  things  secret,  or  that  are 
taking  place  at  a  distance.  The  devils  personate  the  spirits  invoked, 
and  by  their  superior  knowledge  are  able  to  reveal  many  things,  by 
which  they  delude  those  who  deal  with  them  into  thinking  that  they 
are  really  conversing  with  some  departed  relative  or  friend.  On 

150  Faith. 

these  occasions  the  spirits  will  sometimes  take  a  material  form. 
Spiritualism  leads  to  the  loss  of  faith  or  of  morals,  or  at  least  to  the 
ruin  of  the  peace  of  mind  of  the  person  practising  it.  Very  often  it 
is  mixed  up  with  a  great  deal  of  imposture. 

4.  The  angels  who  remained  faithful  to  God  behold  the  face  of 
God  continually  and  sing  His  praises. 

Our  Lord  says  of  our  guardian  angels,  "  I  say  to  you,  that  their 
angels  always  behold  the  face  of  My  Father  Who  is  in  heaven."  The 
angels  at  Our  Lord's  birth  sang  the  praises  of  God.  Their  songs  of 
praise  are  different,  just  as  their  knowledge  and  their  love  of  God  are 
different.  The  angels  are  sometimes  represented  as  children,  because 
they  are  immortal  and  therefore  ever  young ;  sometimes  with  wings  to 
express  the  swiftness  with  which  they  pass  from  place  to  place,  and 
their  promptness  in  carrying  out  the  will  of  God;  sometimes  with 
lilies  in  their  hands  to  show  their  perfect  spotlessness ;  sometimes 
with  harps  to  signify  that  the  praise  of  God  is  their  constant  employ 
ment;  sometimes  without  any  body,  but  only  a  head  and  wings,  to 
show  that  they  are  intellectual  beings.  The  holy  angels  also  possess 
exceeding  beauty  and  splendor.  If  an  angel  were  to  appear  in  the 
firmament  of  heaven  in  his  full  glory,  the  sun  would  disappear  before 
his  brightness,  just  as  the  stars  now  disappear  before  the  brightness 
of  the  sun.  When  St.  John  saw  an  angel  in  all  his  glory,  he  thought 
he  must  be  God  Himself,  and  fell  at  his  feet  to  adore  him  (Apoc. 
xxii.  8).  In  appearing  to  men  the  holy  angels  hide  their  glory.  The 
angels  will  be  our  companions  in  heaven.  This  is  why  they  take  so 
great  an  interest  in  us  while  we  are  on  earth,  and  rejoice  over  the 
sinner  doing  penance.  They  often  intervene  to  help  us  in  our  spir 
itual  and  temporal  needs,  if  we  do  not,  by  our  resistance  to  grace, 
put  obstacles  in  their  way. 

5.  The  holy  angels  are  also  called  guardian  angels,  because 
they  watch  over  us  (Heb.  i.  14). 

Jacob  saw  a  ladder  reaching  up  to  heaven,  and  the  angels  ascend 
ing  and  descending  (Gen.  xxviii.  12).  This  was  to  signify  that  they 
come  down  on  earth  to  protect  us,  and  ascend  back  to  heaven  to  sing 
praise  to  God.  The  guardian  angels  watch  over  us,  as  a  shepherd  over 
his  flock.  They  count  it  as  their  happiness  that  they  are  appointed 
to  watch  over  the  servants  of  God,  and  promote  the  welfare  of  souls, 
and  no  wonder,  when  we  remember  that  the  King  and  Lord  of  all 
things  came  "  not  to  minister,  but  to  be  ministered  unto."  The  service 
they  render  us  causes  them  no  trouble  or  anxiety,  but  rather  joy  and 
happiness,  for  their  one  desire  is  that  the  will  of  God  should  be  done, 
and  they  rejoice  in  contributing  to  this.  The  general  opinion  of  theo 
logians  is  that  every  one  has  a  special  guardian  angel,  who  watches 
over  him  all  through  his  life.  The  dignity  of  the  angels  given  to  us 
depends  on  the  dignity  of  the  persons  to  whom  they  are  assigned. 
Ordinary  Christians  have  one  of  the  lower  orders  of  angels ;  priests, 
bishops,  kings,  etc.,  have  nobler  spirits  to  guard  them.  Cities,  coun 
tries,  parishes,  religious  houses,  have  each  their  guardian  angel. 

Our  guardian  angels  help  us  in  the  following  ways: 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  151 

1.  They  put  good  thoughts  into  our  minds,  and  move  our 
will  to  what  is  good. 

The  angels  who  appeared  to  the  shepherds  at  Bethlehem,  and  who 
were  seen  at  the  tomb  of  Christ,  and  after  His  ascension,  made  them 
selves  visible  and  spoke  to  men; 'but  generally  they  influence  us  with 
out  being  seen  or  heard  by  us.  They  move  us  to  some  step  that  is 
conducive  to  the  welfare  of  our  souls  or  bodies,  and  often  save  us 
from  some  impending  danger  by  a  secret  impulse,  without  which  we 
should  have  incurred  death  or  misfortune. 

2.  They  offer  our  prayers  and  our  good  works  to  God. 

Thus  St.  Raphael  offered  the  prayers  of  Tobias  (Tob.  xii.  12). 
The  angel  in  the  Apocalypse  offers  the  prayers  of  the  saints  in  a 
golden  censer  (Apoc.  viii.  3).  This  is  not  because  God  Himself 
does  not  hear  our  prayers,  but  the  angels  mingle  their  prayers  with 
ours,  and  so  make  them  more  acceptable  to  God.  "  In"  all  the  benefits 
we  receive  from  God,"  says  St.  Thomas,  "  our  guardian  angel  takes 
part,  because  he  helps  in  obtaining  them  for  us." 

3.  They  protect  us  in  danger. 

Thus.  St.  Peter  was  delivered  from  prison  by  an  angel  (Acts  xii. 
7  seq.},  Daniel  was  kept  safe  in  the  den  of  lions,  and  the  three  young 
men  in  the  fiery  furnace  (Dar..  vi.  22;  iii.  49).  We  read  stories 
sometimes  of  children  being  run  over,  or  falling  from  a  height,  and 
escaping  unhurt.  We  can  scarcely  doubt  that  this  was  owing  to  the 
intervention  of  their  guardian  angels.  God  has  commissioned  the 
angels  thus  to  help  us.  "  He  hath  given  His  angels  charge  over  thee, 
to  keep  thee  in  all  thy  ways.  In  their  hands  they  shall  bear  thee 
up,  lest  thou  dash  thy  foot  against  a  stone"  (Ps.  xc.  11).  But  the 
chief  office  of  our  guardian  angel  is  to  preserve  us  from  the  snares  of 
the  devil;  the  holy  angels  have  powers  over  the  evil  spirits,  who  fly 
away  at  their  approach  (Cf.  Tob.  viii.  3).  We  must  therefore 
commit  ourselves  to  the  care  of  our  guardian  angels  in  all  times  of 
danger,  and  before  undertaking  a  journey,  or  any  new  enterprise, 
and  we  should  wish  our  friends  when  they  start  on  a  journey,  the 
good  wish  of  Tobias  when  his  son  was  leaving  his  home,  "  May  the 
angel  of  God  accompany  you  !  " 

4.  They  often  reveal  to  men  the  will  of  God. 

Instances  in  point  are  the  sacrifice  of  Abraham,  the  message  of 
the  angel  to  Zacharias  and  to  Our  Lady.  The  appearance  of  an  angel 
sometimes  causes  fear  at  first,  but  it  soon  changes  to  consolation  and 
joy.  It  is  just  the  opposite  with  the  appearances  of  the  evil  angels; 
they  give  consolation  to  begin  with,  but  this  soon  changes  to  confu 
sion  and  fear. 

If  we  desire  the  protection  of  the  holy  angels,  we  must  try 
and  imitate  them  by  a  holy  life;  we  must  also  honor  them,  and 
often  invoke  their  aid. 

Experience  teaches  us  that  innocent  children  enjoy  a  wonderful 
protection  from  the  angels.  Innocence  attracts  them,  and  sin  drives 

152  Faith. 

them  away,  as  smoke  drives  away  bees.  We  cannot  expect  our  guar 
dian  angels  to  take  care  of  us  when  we  are  doing  what  we  know  is 
displeasing  to  God.  We  must  also  beg  for  the  aid  of  our  guardian 
angel ;  we  must  congratulate  him  on  his  faithfulness  to  God ;  we  must 
salute  him  when  we  go  out  and  when  we  come  in;  we  must  thank 
him  for  all  his  benefits.  We  must  say  with  Tobias,  "  What  can  be 
worthy  of  his  benefits,  and  what  can  we  give  him  sufficient  for  these 
things?"  (Tob.  xii.  3.)  The  Church  honors  our  guardian  angels 
on  the  second  of  October ;  in  some  places  on  the  first  Sunday  in  Sep 

9.    MAN. 
The  Creation  of  Man. 

The  account  of  the  creation  of  man  is  found  in  the  beginning  of 
the  book  of  Genesis.  Nothing  is  said  about  the  time  when  man  was 
created,  but  the  general  belief  fixes  the  date  at  4000  B.C.  The  four 
weeks  of  Advent  seem  to  indicate  that  the  Church  adopts  this  view. 

1.  God  made  the  body  of  man  out  of  the  dust  of  the  earth,  and 
breathed  into  him  a  living  soul. 

The  soul  of  man  is  a  spiritual  substance.  The  materialist  who 
denies  the  existence  of  the  soul  because  it  cannot  be  perceived  by  his 
senses,  might  as  well  deny  the  existence  of  human  reason  because  he 
cannot  see  it.  The  soul  is  endowed  with  the  two  faculties  of  reason 
and  free  will.  Some  have  supposed  that  there  are  in  man  two  souls, 
on  account  of  the  different  inclinations  which  strive  for  mastery  in 
him,  and  the  struggle  that  takes  place  between  the  leaning  towards 
sensual  enjoyment  and  the  reason  that  condemns  it.  But  this 
struggle  only  proves  that  the  soul  has  different  tendencies,  in  virtue 
of  our  nature  being  partly  material  and  partly  spiritual.  The  rela 
tions  between  the  body  and  the  soul  of  man  are  as  follows :  the  body 
is  the  dwelling-place  of  the  soul.  As  the  nutshell  to  the  kernel,  as 
the  dress  to  the  man,  as  the  hut  to  the  hermit,  such  is  the  body  to  the 
soul.  The  body  is  also  the  instrument  of  the  soul,  whereby  it  may 
attain  to  eternal  happiness.  What  his  tools  are  to  the  carpenter,  his 
brush  to  the  painter,  the  organ  to  the  organist,  such  the  body  is  to  the 
soul.  The  soul  is  the  guide  of  the  body,  as  the  driver  of  his  steed, 
or  the  captain  of  his  ship.  Too  often  the  soul  allows  the  evil  desires 
of  the  body  to  lead  it  astray,  to  the  ruin  of  both.  The  body  is  a  good 
servant  but  a  bad  master.  The  soul  also  is  the  life  of  the  body;  as 
soon  as  the  two  are  parted,  the  body  soon  returns  to  the  dust  from 
which  it  was  formed.  The  souls  of  men  are  essentially  different  from 
those  of  the  lower  animals ;  and  have  different  faculties  and  capabili 
ties.  The  souls  of  animals  are  incapable  of  striving  after  perfection, 
or  of  searching  into  the  causes  of  things;  hence  they  can  have  no 
knowledge  of  their  end ;  they  are  led  by  instinct,  not  by  reason.  They 
have  no  craving  after  a  higher  happiness  and  are  quite  satisfied  with 
the  enjoyment  of  sense ;  they  have  no  spiritual  nature,  but  are  essen 
tially  dependent  on  matter. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  153 

It  is  an  error  to  think  that  the  bodies  of  men  are  developed 
out  of  those  of  the  lower  animals. 

Many  think  that  men  aj«sprung  from  the  lower  animals  by  a  pro 
cess  of  gradual  development  This  is  the  theory  advanced  by  the  Eng 
lish  naturalist,  Darwin,  who  believed  that  the  first  man  was  a  highly 
developed  kind  of  monkey.  There  is  an  essential  difference  between 
the  shape  of  the  body  of  a  man  and  an  ape,  and  between  the  form  of 
their  skulls.  The  brain  of  man  is  far  larger  and  heavier  than  that  of  an 
ape.  Man  has  the  gift  of  speech,  the  ape  has  not.  Man  has  the  power 
of  forming  abstract  ideas,  the  ape  has  not.  Man  has  a  long  period  of 
growth,  and  a  gradual  development  of  his  faculties;  the  ape  shoots 
up  very  quickly  to  its  full  development.  The  ape  only  lives  about 
thirty  years;  man  can  attain  to  the  age  of  eighty  or  even  one  hun 
dred  years.  Man  is  capable  of  the  highest  cultivation ;  the  ape  is  not. 
No  bones  have  ever  yet  been  found  which  bridge  over  the  impassable 
gulf  that  separates  men  from  apes.  There  is  no  difference  between 
the  bones  of  men  in  the  present  day  and  those  of  men  who  lived 
thousands  of  years  ago.  Tradition  and  language  bear  witness  to  an 
early  period  when  men  enjoyed  a  higher  cultivation,  from  which 
they  afterwards  fell  away  through  sin  and  vice.  The  apes  which 
bear  the  greatest  resemblance  to  man  in  bodily  form  are  stupid  and 
without  intelligence,  and  seem  to  have  been  created  in  order  that  we 
may  see  what  man  would  have  been  if  God  had  not  breathed  into 
him  an  immortal  soul,  and  made  him  like  to  Himself.  To  those  who 
trace  the  origin  of  men  from  apes  may  be  applied  the  words  of 
Holy  Scripture,  "Man  when  he  was  in  honor  did  not  understand; 
he  hath  been  compared  to  senseless  beasts,  and  made  like  to  them" 
(Ps.  xlviii.  21). 

2.  The  first  human  beings  that  God  created  were  Adam  and 

Eve  was  made  from  a  rib  of  Adam  while  he  slept,  and  from  Adam 
and  Eve  all  the  millions  who  now  cover  the  face  of  the  earth  were  de 
scended.  Hence  all  are  members  of  one  and  the  same  family.  The  dif 
ferences  of  color  and  of  the  shape  of  the  skull  are  the  result  of  differ 
ences  of  climate,  food,  and  way  of  living.  We  find  that  animals  grad 
ually  change  their  shape  and  color  under  a  different  climate.  All  men 
have  certain  common  bodily  characteristics,  and  also  the  mental  facul 
ties  of  will,  memory,  and  understanding.  The  oldest  legends  of  all 
existing  peoples  tell  of  a  primeval  happiness  from  which  man  fell,  of 
a  deluge  over  all  the  inhabited  portion  of  the  earth,  etc.,  and  so  bear 
witness  to  a  common  origin. 

Yet  all  men  derive  only  their  bodies  from  Adam;  for  the 
soul  of  every  man  is  created  by  God. 

It  is  not  man,  but  God,  Who  communicates  to  each  of  us  his  soul 
when  he  comes  into  existence.  "  The  Lord  f  ormeth  the  spirit  of  man 
in  him"  (Zach.  xii.  1).  Just  as  the  Holy  Spirit  in  Baptism  or  in 
the  Sacrament  of  Penance  descends  into  the  soul  of  man,  and  gives 
it  spiritual  life,  so  God  gives  natural  life  to  the  body  of  man  when 
formed,  and  places  the  soul  in  it.  So  He  did  with  the  bodies  of  Adam 

154  Faith 

and  Eve  at  their  creation.  God  creates  each  soul  and  at  the  same 
moment  places  it  in  the  body  which  He  has  prepared  for  it.  It  is 
therefore  an  error  to  suppose,  as  Tertullian  did,  that  the  soul  of  the 
child  is  sprung  from  the  soul  of  its  parent,  as  one  flame  is  engendered 
from  another.  Some  have  foolishly  asserted  that  all  men  have  one 
and  the  same  soul,  others  that  God  created  the  souls  of  all  men  when 
He  first  created  the  world.  This  was  the  doctrine  of  Plato  and 
Origen,  and  is  entirely  false. 

10.    THE  SOUL  OF  MAN. 

1.  The  soul  of  man  is  made  in  the  image  of  God,  since  it  is  a 
spirit  like  to  God. 

Before  the  creation  of  man  God  said,  "  Let  us  make  man  to  our 
own  image  and  likeness  and  let  him  have  dominion  over  the  beasts  and 
the  whole  earth"  (Gen  i.  26).  Man  is  made  in  the  image  of  God; 
his  likeness  to  God  is  to  be  found  in  his  soul,  which  possesses  reason 
and  free  will,  and  thence  has  the  power  of  knowing  what  is  beautiful 
and  good,  and  of  loving  it.  He,  moreover,  through  these  two  faculties 
has  dominion  over  the  visible  world,  as  God  has  dominion  over  the 
whole  universe.  In  the  words  spoken  before  the  creation  of  man, 
God  joined  together  the  likeness  of  Himself  and  dominion  over  the 
earth.  Man  attains  to  a  perfect  likeness  to  God  only  when  he  is 
in  the  grace  of  God,  for  in  this  case  he  is  made  a  "  partaker  of  the  di 
vine  nature  "  (2  Pet.  i.  4).  The  just  man  is  truly  the  lord  of  the  whole 
earth  and  of  all  creatures  upon  it,  whereas  the  sinner  is  the  slave 
of  creatures.  Man,  through  his  likeness  to  God,  has  not  only  the 
power  of  knowing  the  true  and  the  beautiful  and  the  good,  but  he  has 
also  the  power  of  knowing,  loving,  and  enjoying  God  in  His  divine 
majesty.  Just  as  a  globe  has  a  feeble  resemblance  to  the  earth,  so  the 
soul  of  man  has  a  feeble  resemblance  to  God.  The  soul  is  also  an 
image  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  in  virtue  of  its  three  powers,  memory, 
understanding,  and  will.  In  its  memory  it  resembles  the  Father,  in 
its  understanding  the  Son,  and  in  its  will  the  Holy  Ghost.  As  these 
three  powers  are  united  in  one  soul,  so  the  three  persons  of  the 
Blessed  Trinity  are  united  in  one  and  the  same  nature.  Notice  the 
words  used  at  the  creation :  "  Let  us  make  man,"  thereby  indicating 
the  plurality  of  persons  in  the  Blessed  Trinity.  It  is  its  likeness  to 
the  Blessed  Trinity  that  gives  to  every  single  soul  its  priceless  value ; 
it  is  this  which  explains  the  Incarnation.  The  soul  of  man  is  worth 
more  than  all  the  stars  of  heaven.  The  body  of  man  is  not  made 
in  the  image  of  God,  for  God  is  a  pure  spirit,  but  yet  the  like 
ness  to  God  stamps  itself  in  some  way  on  the  body,  as  being  the  in 
strument  of  the  soul,  both  in  its  upright  bearing,  and  in  the  dominion 
it  exerts  over  the  irrational  animals  (Cf.  Ps.  viii.  5,  6).  "What 
is  man  that  Thou  art  mindful  of  him  ?  Thou  hast  crowned  him 
with  glory  and  honor,  and  hast  given  him  dominion  over  the  works  of 
Thy  hands." 

2.  The  soul  of  man  is  immortal,  i.e.,  it  can  never  cease  to  exist. 

The  soul  can  never  cease  to  exist,  but  it  becomes  spiritually  dead 
when  it  loses  the  grace  of  God  by  mortal  sin.     It  cannot  lose  con- 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  155 

sciousness,  but  it  can  lose  God.  A  branch  that  falls  from  the  tree 
continues  to  exist,  but  is  nevertheless  dead.  Sinners  are  thus  dead, 
even  while  they  live;  the  just  on  the  other  hand  live  even  after  they 
are  dead. 

That  the  soul  of  man  is  immortal  we  know  from  the  words 
of  Jesus  Christ. 

Our  Lord  says,  "  Fear  not  them  who  can  kill  the  body,  but  cannot 
kill  the  soul "  (Matt.  x.  28),  and  to  the  good  thief  on  the  cross  He  says, 
"To-day  thou  shalt  be  with  Me  in  paradise"  (Luke  xxiii.  43).  He 
teaches  the  same  truth  in  the  story  of  the  rich  man  and  Lazarus 
(Luke  xvi.  19).  "  God  is  the  God  of  Abraham  and  Isaac  and  Jacob; 
and  is  not  the  God  of  the  dead  but  of  the  living  "  (Matt.  xxii.  32). 

We  learn  the  same  truth  from  the  numberless  appearances  of 
the  dead  to  the  living. 

At  Our  Lord's  transfiguration  Moses  appeared,  who  had  been  long 
dead  (Matt.  xvii.  3).  At  the  time  of  Our  Lord's  crucifixion  many  who 
were  dead  appeared  in  Jerusalem  (Matt,  xxvii.  53).  The  prophet  Jere- 
mias  and  the  priest  Onias  appeared  to  Judas  Maccabeus  before  his 
victory  over  Nicanor  (2  Mach.  xv.  11  seq.).  Our  Lady  has  constantly 
appeared  to  saints  and  to  others,  and  so  have  many  of  the  saints  as 
well  as  those  who  are  suffering  in  purgatory;  sometimes  to  console 
and  encourage  the  living,  sometimes  to  warn  them,  and  in  the  case 
of  the  holy  souls,  to  ask  for  prayers.  The  lost  rarely  (and  some  think 
never)  appear  to  men,  unless  it  may  be  in  some  rare  cases  to  warn  the 
living.  It  is  unlawful  to  invoke  the  appearance  of  the  dead,  and 
those  who  do  so  are  tricked  by  the  devil,  who  takes  the  form  of  the 
person  invoked,  or  indicates  their  supposed  presence  by  sounds,  raps, 
etc.  All  true  appearances  of  the  dead  are  wrought  by  the  instrumen 
tality  of  the  angels.  We  must  be  very  cautious  in  accepting  such 
appearances  as  real,  but  yet  we  ought  not  to  reject  them  altogether. 
Many  reject  all  such  appearances,  because  they  know  that,  if  they 
acknowledged  them  to  be  true,  they  would  have  to  change  their  way 
of  living,  and  this  they  are  not  willing  to  do. 

We  can  also  prove  from  reason  that  the  soul  is  immortal. 

Man  has  a  longing  after  a  perfect  and  lasting  happiness.  This 
longing  is  common  to  all  men,  and  is  implanted  in  them  by  their 
Creator.  Such  happiness  can  never  be  attained  in  this  world — and 
therefore  if  man  possessed  the  desire  for  it,  without  any  hope  of 
its  being  satisfied,  he  would  be  more  unfortunate  than  the  brutes 
who  have  no  such  desire,  and  God,  in  implanting  it  in  his  breast 
would  be,  not  good,  but  cruel.  If  man  had  no  immortal  soul,  the 
wicked  who  do  evil  all  their  lives  long  would  go  unpunished,  and 
the  just,  who  by  self-sacrifice  have  robbed  themselves  of  the  enjoy 
ments  of  life,  would  go  unrewarded.  This  would  be  an  injustice  im 
possible  to  a  God  of  perfect  justice.  We  are  also  conscious  of  an  indi 
vidual  unity  in  each  one  of  us,  which  is  independent  of  our  body, 
which  perseveres  in  spite  of  all  bodily  changes,  and  continues  from 
childhood  to  old  age.  It  is  present  during  sleep  as  well  as  during 
waking  hours,  and  is  active  when  all  our  bodily  senses  are  wrapped  in 

156  Faith. 

repose  and  inactivity.  St.  Augustine  tells  a  story  of  Gennadius,  a 
physician  of  Carthage,  who  would  not  believe  in  the  immortality  of 
the  soul.  One  night  he  had  a  dream,  in  which  he  saw  standing  before 
him  a  beautiful  young  man,  clothed  in  white,  who  said  to  him :  "  Dost 
thou  see  me  ? "  He  answered,  "  Yes,  I  see  you."  The  young  man 
rejoined,  "  Dost  thou  see  me  with  thine  eyes  ? "  "  No,"  answered 
Gennadius,  "  for  they  are  closed  in  sleep."  "  With  what,  then,  dost 
thou  see  me  ?  "  "I  know  not."  The  young  man  continued :  "  Dost 
thou  hear  me  ?  "  "  Yes."  "  With  thine  ears  ?  "  "  No,  for  these  too 
are  wrapped  in  sleep."  "  With  what  then  dost  thou  hear  me  ? " 
"  I  know  not."  "  Are  you  speaking  to  me  ? "  was  the  next  question. 
"  Yes."  "  With  thy  mouth  ?  "  "  No."  "  With  what  then  ?  "  "I  know 
not."  Then  the  young  man  said :  "  See  now,  thou  sleepest — and  yet 
thou  seest,  hearest,  and  speakest.  The  hour  will  come  when  thou  wilt 
sleep  in  death,  and  yet  thou  wilt  see  and  hear  and  speak  and  feel." 
Gennadius  woke,  and  knew  that  God  had  sent  an  angel  to  teach  him 
the  immortality  of  the  soul.  No  particle  of  matter  is  ever  lost. 
Matter  takes  different  forms,  but  the  same  amount  of  matter  remains 
throughout.  If  matter  never  perishes,  is  it  possible  that  the  soul, 
which  belongs  to  a  far  higher  order,  is  destined  to  perish  ? 

All  nations  of  the  earth  believe  in  the  immortality  of  the  soul. 

When  Jacob  heard  of  the  death  of  his  son  Joseph,  he  expressed 
a  wish  to  go  and  join  him  in  the  nether  world  (Gen.  xxxvii.  35). 
The  Jews  were  forbidden  to  call  up  the  dead  or  hold  intercourse  with 
them  (Deut.  xviii.  11).  The  Greeks  and  Romans  believed  in  Tar 
tarus  and  Elysium.  The  Egyptians  believed  that  the  soul  wandered 
about  for  three  thousand  years  before  finding  rest.  In  other  nations 
the  offerings  for  the  dead,  and  the  cultus  of  the  departed  spirits  or 
Manes,  testify  to  the  same  belief.  There  are  only  a  few,  and  those 
men  who  are  in  mortal  sin,  who  declare  that  they  think  that  death  is 
the  end  of  our  existence.  Most  of  those  who  put  an  end  to  their  lives 
do  so,  not  with  the  idea  that  after  death  they  will  cease  to  be,  but  be 
cause  they  imagine  life  is  intolerable — not  realizing  the  consequences 
of  their  act. 


Our  first  parents  before  the  Fall  had  a  happiness  almost  equal  to 
that  of  the  angels  when  first  created.  Hence  the  Psalmist  says  of 
man,  "  Thou  hast  made  him  a  little  lower  than  the  angels ;  Thou  hast 
crowned  him  with  glory  and  honor"  (Ps.  viii.  6).  Heathen  nations 
have  legends  of  the  happiness  of  the  first  man;  they  termed  it  the 
golden  age.  Hesiod  says  that  men  lived  then  like  gods,  in  perfect 

1.  Our  first  parents  were  created  in  the  grace  of  God,  and  there 
fore  possessed  singular  perfections  of  soul  and  body. 

"  Adam  was  created,"  says  the  Council  of  Trent,  "  in  justice  and 
holiness;  he  was  a  partaker  of  the  divine  nature."  This  justice  and 
holiness  he  did  not  have  of  himself,  but  God  gave  it  to  him;  just  as 
the  eye  does  not  possess  light  from  within,  but  absorbs  it  from  with 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  157 

The  special  privileges  granted  to  the  soul  of  man  at  his  first 
creation  were  as  follows:  An  enlightened  understanding,  a  will 
free  from  all  weakness,  and  the  possession  of  sanctifying  grace. 
Through  means  of  these  he  was  the  child  of  God,  the  heir  of 
heaven,  and  well-pleasing  in  the  sight  of  God. 

"  God  filled  them  with  wisdom  and  the  knowledge  of  understand 
ing,"  says  the  Wise  Man  (Ecclus.  xvii.  5,  6).  He  gave  Adam  an  in 
sight  into  the  inner  nature  of  things,  so  that  he  was  able  to  give  ap 
propriate  names  to  all  the  animals.  He  also  knew  by  inspiration 
the  indissolubility  of  marriage.  The  will  of  man  was  weakened  by 
no  sensual  desires.  Adam  and  Eve  were  naked,  but  felt  no  shame, 
because  in  them  there  was  no  rebellion  of  the  flesh  against  the  spirit, 
no  struggle  necessary  to  avoid  sin.  They  also  had  the  Holy  Spirit 
dwelling  within  them,  and  His  sanctifying  grace;  they  were  like  to 
God,  full  of  love  for  Him,  and  children  of  God ;  and  because  children, 
also  heirs  of  God  and  joint-heirs  with  Christ. 

The  special  perfections  of  their  bodies  were  that  they  were 
immortal,  and  free  from  all  liability  to  sickness  and  disease;  they 
were  in  paradise,  and  had  dominion  over  all  the  creatures  around 

God  created  man  immortal  (Wisd.  ii.  23).  Death  only  came  in  as 
the  punishment  of  disobedience  (Gen.  ii.  17).  The  death  threatened 
was  bodily  as  well  as  spiritual  death,  for  the  punishment  of  their  sin 
was  "Dust  thou  art,  and  unto  dust  thou  shalt  return"  (Gen.  iii.  19). 
Man  had  indeed  to  work  in  paradise,  but  this  work  was  part  of  his 
happiness,  and  caused  him  no  fatigue.  He  had  no  sickness,  for  sick 
ness  is  the  forerunner  of  death.  Paradise  was  a  lovely  garden,  full 
of  noble  trees  and  lovely  flowers,  and  the  fairest  fruits ;  many  beauti 
ful  animals  were  there,  who  were  perfectly  obedient  to  his  behests. 
There  was  also  a  river  in  paradise  divided  into  four  branches.  In  the 
midst  of  the  garden  was  the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil, 
and  close  by  it  the  tree  of  life,  the  fruits  of  which  were  a  protection 
against  disease  and  death.  Paradise  is  said  to  have  been  situated 
between  the  Tigris  and  the  Euphrates.  Man  had  also  a  complete 
dominion  over  all  the  wild  beasts.  Not  that  their  nature  was  then  dif 
ferent  from  now,  but  the  grace  and  dignity  of  man  rendered  them 
submissive  to  his  will,  and  made  them  fear  and  obey  him  (Ecclus. 
xvii.  4).  Something  of  this  power  still  remains  to  man;  it  is  said 
that  110  wild  beast  can  look  a  man  steadily  in  the  face.  We  see  the 
same  thing  in  the  natural  order  now,  in  the  wild  beast  tamers;  and 
in  the  supernatural  in  the  power  that  many  of  the  saints  possessed 
over  the  wild  beasts,  e.g.,  St.  Francis  of  Assisi,  and  many  of  the 
martyrs  before  whose  feet  the  fiercest  of  the  animals  in  the  Roman 
amphitheatre  lay  down  in  prostrate  homage.  This  was  due  to  their 
great  purity  and  freedom  from  sin. 

2.  These  special  perfections  of  our  first  parents  we  call  super 
natural  gifts,  because  they  are  something  altogether  beyond,  and 
were  added  to,  human  nature. 

158  Faith. 

Thus  a  rich  man  out  of  compassion  provides  a  poor  orphan  with 
food,  clothing,  lodging,  instruction  in  a  trade.  These  would  cor 
respond  to  the  natural  gifts  given  by  God  to  man.  But  the  rich  man 
in  his  bounty  goes  further;  he  adopts  the  orphan,  clothes  him  as  if 
he  were  his  own  son,  gives  him  a  room  in  his  own  house,  and  the  edu 
cation  of  a  gentleman.  These  would  correspond  in  some  way  to  the 
supernatural  gifts  given  by  God  to  man.  The  first  of  natural  gifts 
bestow  upon  the  orphan  a  sort  of  likeness  to  the  giver,  but  the  second 
impart  to  him  a  far  closer  likeness.  So  the  supernatural  gifts  of  God 
to  man  impart  to  him  a  far  closer  likeness  to  God  than  the  natural. 
Or  to  take  another  illustration;  a  painter  can  trace  the  portrait  of  a 
man  with  a  few  strokes  in  black  and  white.  But  if  he  takes  his 
brush  and  colors  the  drawing,  if  he  paints  the  eyes  blue,  the  cheeks 
red,  the  hair  brown,  etc.,  the  likeness  becomes  more  beautiful  and 
corresponds  more  closely  to  the  original.  So  it  is  with  the  natural 
and  the  supernatural  gifts  of  God.  When  God  at  man's  creation  said, 
"  Let  us  make  man  in  our  image  and  likeness,"  the  image  refers 
to  the  natural,  the  likeness  to  the  supernatural  gifts  of  God. 


The  story  of  the  Fall  of  man  is  a  true  story,  not  a  mere  fable. 
This  is  the  general  opinion  of  theologians. 

1.  God  imposed  on  man  in  paradise  a  precept;  He  forbade  him 
to  eat  the  fruit  of  one  of  the  trees  which  stood  in  the  midst  of  the 
Garden  of  Eden. 

The  fruit  of  the  tree  of  good  and  evil  was  not  bad  in  itself,  for 
God  did  not  place  anything  that  was  evil  in  paradise ;  it  was  only  bad 
and  injurious  to  man  because  it  was  forbidden. 

By  obedience  to  this  precept  God  intended  that  Adam  and 
Eve  should  merit  eternal  happiness. 

It  was  the  intention  of  God  to  bestow  upon  our  first  parents 
eternal  happiness — an  inheritance  that  was  to  be  theirs  as  chil 
dren  of  God.  But  as  a  happiness  that  is  earned  is  a  greater  happi 
ness,  and  one  of  greater  value  than  if  it  were  bestowed  without  any 
action  deserving  of  it,  God  in  His  goodness  decreed  that  man  should 
earn  it  as  a  reward  of  obedience.  If  man  had  not  transgressed  the 
command  of  God,  he  would  have  passed  without  pain  and  without 
death  from  the  earthly  into  the  celestial  paradise.  The  posterity  of 
Adam  would  have  come  into  existence,  like  him,  in  a  state  of  original 
justice.  They  would  have  died  as  Adam  died  if  they  had  sinned  like 
him,  but  the  sin  would  not  have  passed  on  to  their  children,  for  Adam 
alone  was  the  appointed  head  and  representative  of  the  human  race. 

2.  Man  allowed  himself  to  be  led  astray  by  the  devil,  and  trans 
gressed  the  precept  of  his  Creator. 

The  devil  was  envious  of  the  happiness  of  our  first  parents.  "  By 
the  envy  of  the  devil  death  came  into  the  world"  (Wisd.  ii.  24). 
"  The  devil  was  a  murderer  from  the  beginning  "  (John  viii.  4).  He 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  159 

deceived  Eve  by  a  lie.  Hence  Our  Lord  calls  him  the  father  of  lies 
(John  viii.  4) .  He  took  a  visible  form  because  a  mere  internal  suggestion 
would  have  had  no  power  to  influence  the  mind  of  our  first  parents 
in  their  state  of  original  justice.  He  took  the  form  of  a  serpent, 
because  God  would  allow  him  to  take  no  other  and  the  serpent 
was  a  fit  emblem  of  his  cunning  and  poisonous  wickedness.  St. 
Augustine  tells  us  that  Adam  and  Eve  had  already  admitted  the 
beginnings  of  evil  by  thinking  little  of  God  and  allowing  them 
selves  to  be  distracted  by  visible  and  palpable  things.  This  was  the 
occasion  of  the  temptation.  Their  great  happiness  had  made  them 
unwary,  and  Eve  foolishly  lingered  near  the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of 
good  and  evil,  and  listened  to  the  serpent,  instead  of  turning  away  at 
once.  The  common  tradition  among  the  Fathers  is  that  Adam  was 
created  on  a  Friday  and  fell  on  the  following  Friday,  at  the  same 
hour  at  which  Our  Lord  on  Good  Friday  died  upon  the  cross. 

3.  The  transgression  of  the  precept  of  God  had  disastrous  con 
sequences;  man  lost  sanctifying  grace,  and  all  his  supernatural 
gifts,  and  also  suffered  injuries  both  in  soul  and  body. 

The  disobedience  of  our  first  parents  received  this  severe  punish 
ment,  because  the  law  given  them  was  one  that  it  was  easy  for  them 
to  obey,  and  because  they  had  such  a  high  degree  of  knowledge.  The 
sin  they  committed  was  a  mortal  sin,  else  it  would  not  have  been 
necessary  for  God  Himself  to  die  upon  the  cross  in  order  to  expiate 
it.  From  the  cost  of  the  remedy  we  may  judge  of  the  deadly  nature 
of  the  wound.  Just  as  the  man  who  fell  among  the  thieves  on  the 
road  to  Jericho  was  robbed  of  his  goods,  and  also  sorely  wounded,  so 
man  was  robbed  by  Satan  of  his  supernatural  gifts,  and  was  sorely 
wounded  in  his  natural  gifts.  In  other  words,  the  supernatural  like 
ness  to  God  was  lost,  and  his  whole  nature,  body  and  soul  alike,  was 
disfigured  and  weakened. 

Original  sin  injured  the  soul  of  man  in  the  following  ways: 
His  understanding  was  darkened,  his  will  weakened  and  made 
prone  to  evil;  lie  lost  supernatural  grace  and  thus  became  dis 
pleasing  to  God,  and  could  no  more  enter  into  the  kingdom. of 

His  understanding  was  darkened,  i.e.,  he  had  not  the  same  knowl 
edge  of  the  nature  of  God,  of  the  will  of  God,  the  end  of  life,  etc. 
His  will  was  weakened,  for  by  sin  the  harmony  between  his  spiritual 
and  his  sensible  faculties  was  destroyed,  so  that  the  inclinations 
of  his  senses  no  longer  submitted  without  revolt  to  the  dominion 
of  his  reason.  The  flesh  rebelled  against  the  spirit  in  punishment 
for  man's  rebellion  against  God.  Hence  St.  Paul  says,  "  I  see  another 
law  in  my  members,  fighting  against  the  law  of  my  mind  "  (Rom. 
vii.  23).  "  The  flesh  lusteth  against  the  spirit  "  (Gal.  v.  17).  Hence 
forward  man's  nature  was  drawn  towards  the  things  of  sense,  as  iron 
is  drawn  by  the  power  of  the  magnet.  Many  other  evil  tendencies 
also  arose  in  him.  Doubt  in  the  goodness  of  God,  in  His  truth  and 
justice;  vanity  and  pride,  etc.  Eve,  who  had  fancied  that  she  was 
going  to  become  like  to  God,  condemned  herself  and  her  posterity  to 

160  Faith. 

a  foolish  curiosity,  to  a  love  of  dress,  and  ill-timed  loquacity.  Man 
has  not  lost  the  freedom  of  his  will  by  original  sin,  else  he  would  not 
have  that  consciousness  of  being  able  to  exercise  choice,  or  that  feel 
ing  of  remorse  when  he  had  yielded.  Our  first  parents  also  lost  sanc 
tifying  grace,  the  justice  and  holiness  in  which  they  were  created, 
and  the  friendship  of  God  which  accompanied  it.  He  who  dies  still 
burdened  with  original  sin  cannot  see  the  face  of  God  in  heaven, 
but  he  does  not  suffer  the  pains  of  hell  unless  he  has  committed 
grievous  sin  himself.  Children  who  die  unbaptized  are  excluded 
from  heaven,  but  it  does  not  follow  that  their  existence  is  one  of  pain 
or  misery. 

Original  sin  did  injury  to  the  body  of  man  in  the  following 
ways:  He  became  subject  to  sickness  and  death;  he  was  shut  out 
from  paradise  and  had  to  labor  and  to  suffer.  Woman  became 
subject  to  man;  the  forces  of  nature  and  the  lower  animals  had 
power  to  injure  man;  lastly  the  devil  had  permission  from  God 
to  tempt  him  to  sin,  and  to  injure  him  in  his  temporal  posses 

Man  was  condemned  to  die  in  consequence  of  original  sin.  God 
said  to  Adam  "  In  the  sweat  of  thy  brow  thou  shalt  eat  bread,  until 
thou  return  to  the  earth  from  which  thou  wast  taken;  for  dust  thou 
art  and  to  dust  thou  shalt  return  "  (Gen.  iii.  19).  Of  these  words  the 
Church  reminds  us  on  Ash  Wednesday,  when  the  priest  places  the 
ashes  on  the  heads  of  the  faithful.  Death  is  the  worst  consequence  of 
original  sin.  But  the  death  of  the  body  is  but  the  sensible  image 
of  the  terrible  and  eternal  death  of  the  soul,  from  which  man  can 
only  be  delivered  through  the  redemption  of  Christ  and  by  penance. 
The  exclusion  from  the  earthly  paradise  also  had  its  meaning,  and 
was  meant  to  remind  man  how  sin  excludes  him  from  the  celestial 
paradise  of  heaven.  Man  had  also  to  labor  hard.  God  said  to  Adam : 
"  Cursed  is  the  earth  in  thy  work.  With  labor  and  toil  thou  shalt 
eat  the  fruit  thereof  all  the  days  of  thy  life"  (Gen  iii.  17).  Be 
cause  of  this  curse  the  Church  makes  use  of  various  blessings  on 
material  things.  Woman  had  to  be  subject  to  her  husband,  because 
she  had  led  him  into  disobedience,  and  had  to  bear  children  in  sorrow 
because  she  had  involved  them  in  sorrow  through  her  disobedience. 
The  lower  animals  also  received  power  to  injure  man.  He  had  revolted 
against  God,  his  Master;  so  it  was  only  just  that  they  should  rebel 
against  him.  The  devil  has  also  a  great  influence  over  man,  in  ac 
cordance  with  the  saying  of  Holy  Scripture :  "  By  whom  a  man  is 
overcome,  of  the  same  also  he  is  made  the  slave  "  (2  Pet.  ii.  19).  He 
can  tempt  them  more  easily  and  lead  them  to  mortal  sin;  he  can 
also  injure  them  in  their  worldly  goods  (Cf.  Job).  He  is  the  prince 
of  this  world,  and  has  the  empire  of  death  (Heb.  ii.  14).  A  heavy 
yoke  lies  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  children  of  Adam  from  the  day  of 
their  birth  to  the  day  of  their  death  (Ecclus.  xl.  1).  The  punish 
ments  that  God  sent  upon  man  were  a  valuable  medicine  to  counter 
act  the  effects  of  sin.  Sickness,  death,  the  necessity  of  labor,  and 
the  subjection  of  men  one  to  another  were  intended  to  check  pride 
and  sensuality.  Man  was  driven  out  of  paradise  lest  he  should 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  161 

eat  of  the  tree  of  life,  and  so  live  forever  in  this  valley  of  tears. 
His  banishment  was  also  an  effective  means  of  leading  him  to 

4.  The  sin  of  our  first  parents  with  all  its  evil  consequences 
has  passed  on  to  their  descendants. 

Not  merely  the  consequences  of  sin,  but  the  sin  itself,  has  in  some 
sense  passed  on  from  Adam  to  his  descendants,  so  that  it  is  true  of 
all  of  them  that  they  have  sinned  in  Adam.  If  it  were  not  so,  God 
could  not  with  justice  have  visited  that  sin  upon  them.  We  are  all 
by  nature  children  of  wrath  (Eph.  ii.  3).  But  we  partake  in  the  sin 
of  Adam,  as  the  members  of  the  body  partake  in  the  sin  which  the 
soul  commits  through  their  agency,  by  putting  them  in  motion  to 
perform  the  sinful  act.  Suppose  a  king  bestows  an  estate  upon  one 
of  his  servants,  on  the  condition  that  the  servant  remain  faithful 
to  him.  He  is  unfaithful,  and  thereby  loses  the  estate — not  he  only, 
but  also  his  whole  posterity.  So  it  is  with  original  sin.  We  must 
also  remember  that  original  sin  and  all  its  consequences  are  not  any 
thing  positive,  but  are  the  absence  of  that  which  would  otherwise 
be  present.  It  is  the  absence  of  the  supernatural  grace  of  God;  of 
original  justice,  with  all  the  privileges  and  perfections  that  it  carries 
with  it.  When  we  say  that  we  have  sinned  in  Adam,  this  does 
not  mean  that  we  have  imitated  Adam's  sin  by  some  positive  act  of 
our  own.  All  children  have  sinned  in  Adam,  even  though  absolutely 
free  from  any  personal  act  of  sin. 

The  sin  that  we  inherit  from  Adam  is  called  original  sin. 

We  are  already  tainted  with  sin  before  we  draw  our  first  breath, 
or  see  the  light  of  day.  We  are  conceived  in  sin  (Ps.  1.  7).  Even  the 
children  of  Christians  are  born  in  sin.  Not  only  the  seed  of  the 
wild  olive,  but  also  of  the  cultivated  olive  comes  up  as  a  wild  plant. 
So  is  it  with  the  children  of  Christian  as  well  as  of  heathen 

Only  Jesus  Christ  and  His  holy  Mother  were  free  from  origi 
nal  sin. 

All  mankind  save  Christ  and  our  blessed  Lady  were  conceived  in 
sin.  St.  John  the  Baptist  (Luke  i.  15)  and  probably  the  prophet 
Jeremias  (Jer.  i.  5),  were  born  without  sin,  having  been  cleansed  from 
sin  in  their  mothers'  womb,  but  they  were  not  conceived  without  sin. 
Some  believe  that  St.  Joseph  was  also  born  free  from  sin.  All  other 
men  were  cleansed  from  sin  in  baptism.  The  history  of  man  is  un 
intelligible  to  those  who  do  not  believe  in  the  doctrine  of  original 
sin.  Oh,  how  great  is  the  misery  that  original  sin  has  brought  into 
the  world  !  Yet  how  few  there  are  who  are  conscious  of  their 
misery  !  Men  are  like  children  born  in  slavery,  who  laugh,  and  play, 
and  enjoy  themselves,  as  if  they  were  free.  It  is  only  the  saints,  who 
know  the  emptiness  of  the  joys  of  earth,  who  lament  over  the  misery 
of  sin. 

162  Faith. 



Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  Our  Redeemer,  has  freed  us  from  the 
evil  consequences  of  sin. 

Man  after  the  Fall  was  unable  to  regain  for  himself  his  former 
holiness  and  justice,  and  all  the  goods  that  were  bound  up  with  these. 
A  man  whose  body  is  dead  cannot  raise  himself  again  to  bodily  life; 
so  one  who  is  spiritually  dead  cannot  raise  himself  again  to  spiritual 
life.  Man  after  the  Fall  became  like  a  sick  man  who  cannot  move 
hand  or  foot,  or  arise  from  the  bed  on  which  he  is  lying.  What  the 
Good  Samaritan  was  to  the  man  who  had  fallen  among  thieves, 
Our  Lord  is  to  the  man  who  has  been  wounded  by  the  craft  of  the 
devil  and  robbed  of  his  spiritual  and  supernatural  gifts.  Jesus 
Christ  is  also  called  Our  Saviour  or  Our  Redeemer,  because  He 
saved  us  from  hell  and  brought  us  back  at  the  cost  of  His  own 
precious  blood. 

Christ  freed  us  from  the  spiritual  consequences  of  sin  in  the 
following  manner:  He  enlightened  our  understanding  by  His 
teaching,  inclined  our  will  to  good  by  His  precepts  and  promises, 
and  by  His  sacrifice  of  Himself  upon  the  cross  won  for  us 
the  means  of  grace  by  which  we  once  more  attain  to  sanctifica- 
tion  and  become  the  children  of  God  and  heirs  of  the  kingdom 
of  heaven. 

Christ  took  upon  Himself  a  threefold  office,  that  of  Prophet  or 
Teacher,  Priest,  and  King.  This  threefold  office  he  ascribes  to  Him 
self  under  various  titles.  He  calls  Himself  the  Light  of  the  world 
(John  xii.  46),  because  He  enlightens  the  darkness  of  our  under 
standing  by  His  doctrine.  As  a  light  makes  distant  objects  clear 
and  visible,  so  Christ  makes  clear  to  us  the  most  distant  objects, 
God  and  His  perfections,  the  world  to  come,  heaven  and  hell,  time 
and  eternity.  Before  Pilate  He  calls  Himself  the  King  Whose  king 
dom  is  not  of  this  world  (John  xviii.  36).  He  also  calls  Himself  the 
Good  Shepherd,  Who  gives  His  life  for  His  sheep  (John  x.  11).  He 
also  often  compares  Himself  to  a  guide  or  leader  (John  xiv.  6 ;  Matt. 
x.  38).  We  are  wanderers  in  thi«  world;  we  have  here  no  abiding 
dwelling-place,  but  seek  one  that  is  to  come.  The  road  is  rough, 
steep,  and  surrounded  with  precipices,  and  we  in  our  ignorance  are  in . 
constant  danger  of  wandering  from  the  way.  Christ  undertakes  to 
be  our  Guide.  He  says,  "  I  am  the  way,  the  truth,  and  the  life  " 
(John  xiv.  6),  and  He  promises  that  if  we  take  Him  for  our  Guide, 
and  follow  in  His  sacred  footsteps,  we  shall  never  go  wrong.  St.  Paul 
calls  Christ  our  great  High  Priest  (Heb.  ii.  17),  Who  needs  not, 
like  other  priests,  first  to  offer  «ncrifices  for  his  own  sins,  and  then 
for  the  people.  By  His  obedience  He  atoned  for  Adam's  dis 
obedience  (Rom.  v.  19),  for  Pie  was  obedient  to  death,  even  to  the 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  163 

death  of  the  cross  (Phil.  ii.  8).  Christ  opened  heaven  again  to  us 
by  earning  for  us  the  means  of  grace.  By  which,  and  especially  by 
the  sacraments  and  holy  Mass,  we  can  obtain  sanctifying  grace  and 
be  made  children  of  God.  In  opening  heaven  to  us,  Christ  tore  away 
the  veil  which  shut  us  out  from  the  holy  of  holies  (Matt,  xxvii.  51), 
i.e.,  from  heaven,  and  by  His  blood  gave  us  a  sure  hope  of  entering 
in  (Heb.  x.  19).  The  cross  is  thus  the  key  of  heaven  for  us. 

Christ  freed  us  also  from  the  consequences  of  sin  as  it  affected 
our  bodies;  He  has  died  instead  of  us,  and  has  thus  earned  for 
us  the  resurrection  of  our  bodies;  He  has  by  His  teaching  and 
His  example  taught  us  what  we  must  do  in  order  to  be  happy  in 
this  world,  to  overcome  the  world,  and  so  to  attain  to  the  celestial 
paradise;  lastly  He  lias  given  us  the  means  by  which  we  may 
vanquish  and  drive  far  from  us  the  enemy  of  our  souls. 

By  His  own  resurrection  Christ  insured  for  us  the  resurrection  of 
our  bodies.  "  By  man  came  death,  and  by  man  came  also  the  resur 
rection  from  the  dead"  (1  Cor.  xv.  21).  By  following  the  teach 
ing  of  Christ,  we  shall  secure  true  peace  on  earth  (Cf.  John  iv.  13), 
and  by  practising  the  virtues  that  He  taught  us,  especially  humility, 
chastity,  and  liberality,  we  shall  overcome  the  devil  and  the  world. 
By  the  sacramentals  we  drive  away  from  us  the  evil  one.  Christ  has 
broken  the  power  of  the  devil  (Apoc.  xii.  10,  11),  but  the  final  victory 
over  him  will  be  at  the  end  of  the  world  (1  Cor.  xv.  24,  25 ;  Cf.  Luke 
x.  18).  By  the  death  of  Christ  we  have  won  back  almost  all  that  was 
lost  by  original  sin,  though  some  of  its  consequences  still  remain, 
such  as  sickness,  death,  and  evil  tendencies.  Yet  we  have  won 
more  by  the  death  of  Christ  than  we  lost  by  sin.  Where  sin 
abounded,  grace  did  the  more  abound  (Rom.  v.  20).  Hence  the 
Church  exclaims  in  the  Office  for  Holy  Saturday :  "  O  happy  fault, 
which  obtained  for  us  so  great  a  Redeemer  ! " 


God  forgave  fallen  man,  though  He  had  not  forgiven  the  angels. 
Man's  sin  was  not  so  grievous;  he  had  less  light  and  knowledge,  and 
moreover  was  tempted  by  them.  Besides,  he  at  once  to  some  extent 
confessed  and  lamented  his  sin.  Lastly  God  would  not,  for  the  guilt 
of  one,  thrust  down  into  eternal  banishment  from  Himself  the  whole 
race  of  men. 

1.  Immediately  after  the  Fall  God  promised  man  a  Redeemer. 

For  He  said  to  the  serpent,  "  I  will  put  enmity  between 
thee  and  the  woman,  between  tby  seed  and  her  seed;  she  shall 
crush  thy  head  "  (Gen*,  iii.  15). 

The  seed  of  the  woman  here  referred  to  is  Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ, 
and  the  woman  is  in  all  probability  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary.  There 
is  to  be  a  complete  enmity  between  Our  Lord  and  His  holy  Mother 
on  one  side,  and  the  devil  and  his  friends  on  the  other.  These 

164  Faith. 

words  of  almighty  God  are  a  promise  that  the  power  of  the  devil 
should  be  destroyed,  and  that  the  whole  race  of  men,  who  through 
original  sin  had  fallen  under  the  power  of  the  devil,  in  that  he  had 
great  influence  over  them  in  persuading  them  to  sin,  should  be  freed 
from  their  subjection  to  him.  These  words  are  called  the  Protevan- 
gelium  or  first  Gospel,  inasmuch  as  they  are  the  first  promise  of  a 
Redeemer  to  come.  Yet  He  was  not  to  come  at  once.  Man  had  to 
learn  by  experience  and  by  suffering  the  evil  of  sin,  and  by  seeing 
the  effects  of  God's  anger  against  it,  e.g.,  in  the  Flood,  the  destruction 
of  the  cities  of  the  plain,  in  the  destruction  of  the  Tower  of  Babel, 

2.  Two  thousand  years  later  God  promised  to  Abraham  that 
the  Redeemer  should  be  one  of  his  descendants. 

Abraham  lived  in  Ur  in  Chaldea,  and  later  in  Haran  in  Mesopo 
tamia.  He  preserved  amid  the  idolatry  around  him  the  worship  of 
the  true  God.  God  commanded  him  to  leave  his  father's  house, 
and  journey  forth  into  a  land  which  was  to  be  shown  him.  In 
reward  for  his  prompt  obedience  God  promised  him  that  in  him  all 
the  families  of  the  earth  should  be  blessed  (Gen.  xii.  2,  3).  He 
directed  his  steps  towards  the  fertile  land  of  Palestine,  and  promised 
him  a  numerous  posterity.  Abraham  is  called  the  father  of  the  faith 
ful  (Rom.  iv.  11).  God  repeated  the  same  promise  when  the  three 
angels  visited  Abraham  (Gen.  xviii.  18),  and  again  when  Abraham, 
in  obedience  to  God's  command,  offered  up  his  only  son  Isaac  (Gen. 
xxii.  17). 

The  same  promise  that  God  had  made  to  Abraham  He  re 
peated  to  Isaac  and  to  Jacob,  and  one  thousand  years  later  to 
King  David. 

God  appeared  to  Isaac  when  he  was  about  to  fly  into  Egypt  on 
account  of  the  famine  in  Palestine  (Gen.  xxvi.  2  seq.},  and  to  Jacob 
when  he  was  flying  from  his  brother  Esau,  and  saw  the  ladder  reach 
ing  to  heaven  (Gen.  xxviii.  12),  and  repeated  to  each  the  same  prom 
ise.  To  King  David  the  prophet  Nathan  announced,  by  God's  com 
mand,  that  He  would  raise  up  to  him  a  son  whose  throne  should  be 
established  forever  (2  Kings  vii.  13).  The  men  who  belonged  to 
the  family  from  which  Christ  was  to  be  born  were  termed  patriarchs. 
All  the  patriarchs  reached  a  good  old  age.  God  had  ordained  this  in 
order  that  they  might  hand  down  the  knowledge  of  Him  to  their  pos 

3.  At  a  later  time  God  sent  the  prophets,  and  through  their 
mouth  foretold  many  things  about  the  coming,  the  birth,  the 
person,  the  sufferings,  the  death,  and  the  final  triumph  and  glory 
of  the  Redeemer. 

The  prophets  were  men  enlightened  by  God  (men  of  God),  who 
spoke  to  the  people  of  Israel  in  God's  name  and  with  His  authority. 
Their  chief  task  was  to  keep  the  people  from  sin,  and  to  reprove  them 
when  they  had  sinned,  and  also  to  prepare  the  mind  of  men  for  the 
advent  of  the  Redeemer.  They  were  from  different  classes  in  society ; 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  165 

Isaias  was  of  royal  blood,  Amos  was  a  herdsman,  Eliseus  was 
called  from  the  plough  to  the  prophetical  office.  God  gave  them  the 
power  of  working  miracles,  of  foretelling  His  judgments,  and  also 
of  prophesying  respecting  the  Messias.  Most  of  them  lived  a  life  of 
penance;  they  were  held  in  great  veneration  by  the  people,  but  were 
persecuted  and  in  many  cases  suffered  a  violent  death  (Matt,  xxiii. 
30).  There  were  in  all  about  seventy  prophets.  Moses  was  one  of  the 
greatest  of  the  prophets  (Deut.  xxxiv.  10),  and  Isaias  was  greater 
still,  on  account  of  his  clear  prophesies  respecting  the  Messias.  The 
last  of  the  prophets  was  Malachias,  who  prophesied  about  B.C.  450. 
Sixteen  of  the  prophets  left  writing  behind  them.  Four  of  these  are 
called  the  greater  prophets  (Isaias,  Jeremias,  Ezechiel,  Daniel) ; 
twelve  the  lesser  prophets,  on  account  of  the  smaller  amount  of  their 

4.  Of  the  advent  of  the  Messias  the  prophets  have  given  the 
following  account: 

1.  The  Messias  was  to  be  born  in  Bethlehem. 

Micheas  says :  "  Thou  Bethlehem  Ephrata,  art  a  little  one  among 
the  thousands  of  Juda ;  out  of  thee  shall  come  forth  unto  me  He  Who 
is  to  be  the  Ruler  in  Israel ;  and  His  going  forth  is  from  the  beginning 
unto  the  days  of  eternity"  (Mich.  v.  2).  Hence  the  three  kings  were 
informed  that  Christ  would  be  born  in  Bethlehem  (Matt.  ii.  5). 

2.  The  Messias  was  to  come  at  a  time  when  the  Temple  was 
still  standing. 

When  the  Jews  after  their  return  from  captivity  began  to  rebuild 
the  Temple,  the  old  men  who  had  seen  the  former  Temple  began  to 
weep.  They  saw  from  the  character  of  the  foundations  that  the  new 
Temple  would  not  be  as  large,  nor  as  beautiful  as  the  old  one.  The 
prophet  Aggeus  comforted  them  by  telling  them  that  in  this  new 
Temple  "  the  Desired  of  all  nations  should  come,  and  fill  it  with  glory" 
(Agg.  ii.  8-10).  But  this  second  Temple  was  destroyed  by  Titus 
seventy  years  after  Christ,  and  was  never  rebuilt. 

2    The  Messias  was  to  come  when  the  Jews  no  longer  were 
an  independent  kingdom.* 

Jacob,  in  blessing  his  sons  before  his  death,  said  to  Juda :  "  The 
sceptre  shall  not  be  taken  away  from  Juda,  till  He  come  that  is  to 
be  sent,  and  to  Him  shall  be  the  expectation  of  the  nations  "  (Gen. 
xlix.  10).  From  this  time  the  tribe  of  Juda  was  the  leading  tribe 
(Numb.  ii.  3-9).  King  David  was  of  the  tribe  of  Juda,  and  so  were 
his  successors  up  to  the  captivity  in  Babylon.  Zorobabel,  who  brought 
the  Jews  back  from  captivity,  was  of  the  same  tribe.  When  the  Jews 
regained  their  liberty,  they  were  under  the  rule  of  the  Maccabees, 
who  also  belonged  to  Juda.  It  was  not  till  the  year  39  B.C.  that  the 
Jewish  monarchs  were  deprived  of  their  sovereignty,  and  Herod  the 
Great,  a  foreigner  and  a  pagan,  was  raised  to  the  throne  by  the 
authority  of  the  Romans.  In  the  time  of  Herod  a  Redeemer  was 
looked  for  all  over  Judea.  Herod  was  alarmed  at  the  inquiry  of  the 
Magi  for  the  new-born  King  (Matt.  ii.  3)  ;  the  Jewish  people  thought 

166  Faith. 

that  St.  John  the  Baptist  was  the  Messias  (Luke  iii.  15)  ;  the  Samari 
tan  woman  to  whom  Our  Lord  talked  at  Jacob's  well  was  looking  for 
ward  to  the  advent  of  the  Messias  (John  iv.  25).  The  chief  priest 
conjured  Jesus  to  tell  them  whether  He  was  the  Messias  (Matt.  XXT  i. 
63).  As  many  as  sixty  impostors  about  this  time  gave  out  that  they 
were  the  Christ,  and  deceived  many.  Even  among  the  heathen  there 
was,  at  the  time  of  Christ,  an  expectation  of  a  deliverer,  who  would 
banish  crime  and  restore  peace  to  the  world  (Cf.  Virg.,  Eel.  9). 

4.  The  prophet  Daniel  (605-530)  foretold  that  from  the  re 
building  of  Jerusalem  (453),  until  the  public  appearance  of  the 
Messias,  there  would  be  sixty-nine  weeks  of  years,  and  until  the 
death  of  the  Messias  sixty-nine,  and  a  half  weeks  of  years. 

This  prediction  was  revealed  to  him  by  the  archangel  Gabriel, 
as  he  was  one  day  offering  the  evening  oblation,  and  was  praying  for 
the  deliverance  of  his  people  out  of  captivity.  Cyrus,  in  the  year 
536,  gave  the  Jewish  people  leave  to  return  to  Palestine  and  to  rebuild 
their  city.  In  the  year  453  the  King  Artaxerxes  gave  his  cup-bearer 
Nehemias  full  powers  to  fortify  Jerusalem ;  this  had  not  been  allowed 
by  Cyrus,  on  account  of  which  the  Jews  had  been  exposed  to  the  con 
stant  attacks  of  their  enemies.  Now  if  we  add  to  453  sixty-nine 
weeks  of  years  (483  years)  we  have  the  date  of  the  commencement 
of  Christ's  public  ministry  or  if  we  add  sixty-nine  and  one  half 
weeks  of  years  (486V2  years)  we  have  the  date  of  the  crucifixion  (A.D. 

5.  The  Messias  was  to  be  born  of  a  virgin  of  the  House  of 

As  a  sign  God  gave  to  King  Achaz  the  following  prophecy :  "  Be 
hold  a  virgin  shall  conceive,  and  bear  a  son,  and  His  name  shall  be 
called  Emmanuel  [God  with  us]"  (Is.  vii.  14).  And  of  the  tribe  of 
which  the  Messias  is  to  be  born  the  prophet  Jeremias  says,  "  Behold 
the  days  come,  saith  the  Lord,  that  I  will  raise  up  to  David  a  just 
branch,  and  a  king  shall  reign  and  shall  be  wise,  and  shall  execute  '• 
judgment  and  justice  on  the  earth"  (Jer.  xxiii.  5),  and  His  name 
shall  be  "  the  Lord  our  just  One."  • 

.  6.  The  Messias  was  to  be  preceded  by  a  precursor  or  fore 
runner,  who  was  to  preach  in  the  desert,  and  to  live  an  angelic 


Isaias  says  of  this  forerunner,  that  he  was  to  be  "  the  voice  of 
one  crying  in  the  desert:  Prepare  ye  the  way  of  the  Lord,  make 
straight  in  the  desert  a  path  for  our  God  "  (Is.  xl.  3).  And  God  says 
through  the  mouth  of  Malachias  "  Behold,  I  send  My  angel,  and  he 
shall  prepare  My  way  before  My  face.  And  presently  the  Lord, 
Whom  you  seek,  shall  come  to  His  Temple"  (Mai.  iii.  1).  This  pre 
cursor  was  St.  John  the  Baptist. 

7.  With  the  Messias  a  new  star  was  to  appear. 

The  prophet  Balaam  announced  to  the  King  of  Moab,  when  the 
Israelites  were  approaching :  "  I  shall  see  Plim,  but  not  now ;  I  shall 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  167 

behold  Him,  but  not  near;   a  star  shall  come  out  of  Jacob,  and  a 
sceptre  shall  rise  up  from  Israel "  (Numb.  xxiv.  17). 

y^  8.  The  Messias  was  to  be  adored  by  kings  from  distant  lands, 

and  they  were  to  bring  Him  gifts  (Ps.  Ixxi.  10). 

9.  At  the  time  of  the  birth  of  the  Messias  many  children 
were  to  be  put  to  death. 

We  read  in  the  prophet  Jeremias,  "A  voice  was  heard  on  high, 
of  lamentation  and  mourning  and  weeping;  of  Rachel  weeping  for 
her  children,  and  refusing  to  be  comforted,  because  they  are  not" 
(Jer.  xxxi.  15).  Rachel  here  represents  the  Jewish  people.  She  died 
in  Bethlehem  and  was  buried  there  (Gen.  xxv.  19). 

10.  The  Messias  was  to  fly  to  Egypt,  and  to  return  again 
from  thence  (Osee  xi.  11). 

5,  Of  the  person  of  the  Messias  the  following  prophecies  had 
been  uttered: 

1.  The  Messias  was  to  be  the  Son  of  God  (Ps.  ii.  7). 

Through  the  prophet  Nathan  God  promises  David  the  Redeemer, 
and  says :  "  He  will  call  Me  Father  and  I  will  call  Him  Son  "  (2  Kings 
vii.  14).  In  a  psalm  God  addresses  the  Messias:  "  Thou  art  My  Son; 
this  day  have  I  begotten  Thee"  (Ps.  ii.  7). 

2.  He  shall  be  at  the  same  time  both  God  and  man. 

Isaias  says,  "  A  Child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  Son  is  giveh  to  us ;  and 
His  name  shall  be  called  Wonderful,  Counsellor,  God,  the  Mighty,  the 
Father  of  the  world  to  come,  the  Prince  of  peace  "  (Is.  ix.  6). 

3.  He  was  to  be  a  great  worker  of  miracles. 

"  God  Himself  shall  come  and  save  you.  Then  shall  the  eyes  of  the 
blind  be  opened  and  the  ears  of  the  deaf  shall  be  unstopped.  Then 
shall  the  lame  man  leap  as  the  hart,  and  the  tongue  of  the  dumb  shall 
be  unstopped"  (Is.  xxxv.  5-7). 

4.  JZe  was  to  be  a  priest  like  to  Melchisedech. 

/*  The  Lord  hath  sworn  and  He  will  not  repent :  Thou  art  a  priest 
forever  after  the  order  of  If  elchisedech  "  (Ps.  cix.  4).  Christ  offered 
bread  and  wine  at  the  Last  Supper,  and  offers  it  daily  in  holy  Mass 
through  the  hands  of  the  priests  who  are  His  representatives. 

5.  .He  was  to  be  a  prophet  or  teacher  of  the  people. 

JTo  Moses  God  had  said,  "I  will  raise  up  unto  them  a  prophet, 
out; of  the  midst  of  thy  brethren,  like  to  thee"  (Deut.  xviii.  18). 
Hence  the  Jews  named  the  Messias,  "  the  Prophet  Who  was  to  come 
into  the  world"  (John  vi.  14).  As  prophet  the  Messias  was  to  teach 
and  to  prophesy.  He  was  also  to  be  the  teacher  of  the  nations  (Is. 
xlix.  1-6). 

6.  He  was  to  be  King  of  a  new  kingdom  (Jer.  xxiii.  5), 

168  Faith. 

which  was  never  to  be  destroyed,  and  was  to  embrace  all  otheu 
kingdoms  (Dan.  ii.  44). 

This  kingdom  is  the  Catholic  Church,  or  the  Church  of  the  whole 
world.  Before  Pilate  Christ  proclaimed  Himself  a  king,  and  said, 
"  My  kingdom  is  not  of  this  world,"  i.e.,  His  kingdom  was  to  be  a 
spiritual  one  (John  xviii.  36). 

6.  Of  the  sufferings  of  the  Messias  the  prophets  spoke  as 
follows : 

1.  The  Messias  was  to  enter  into  Jerusalem  riding  on  an  ass 
(Zach.  ix.  9). 

2.  He  was  to  be  sold  for  thirty  pieces  of  silver.   "  And  I  took 
the  thirty  pieces  of  silver,  and  I  cast  them  into  the  house  of  the 
Lord  "  (Zach.  xi.  12,  13). 

The  words  of  Zacharias  were  exactly  fulfilled;  Judas  threw  down 
the  money  in  the  Temple,  and  with  it  was  bought  a  field  belonging 
to  a  potter,  as  a  burying-place  for  strangers  (Matt,  xxvii.  5-7). 

3.  He  was  to  be  betrayed  by  one  who  ate  at  the  same  table 
with  Him  (Ps.  xl.  10). 

Judas  went  out  from  the  Last  Supper  to  betray  his  Master  (John 
xiii.  30). 

4.  His  disciples  were  to  forsake  Him  at  the  time  of  His 
Passion  (Zach.  xiii.  7). 

5.  He  was  to  be  mocked  (Ps.  xxi.   7),  beaten,  spit  upon 
(Is.  1.  6),  scourged  (Ps.  Ixxii.  14),  crowned  with  thorns  (Cant, 
iii.  11),  and  given  gall  and  vinegar  to  drink  (Ps.  Ixviii.  22). 

The  chief  priests  and  Scribes  at  the  crucifixion  mocked  Our  Lord, 
and  said  among  themselves,  "He  saved  others;  Himself  He  cannot 
save"  (Mark  xv.  31;  Cf.  v.  29).  In  the  house  of  Annas  a  servant  gave 
Him  a  blow  (John  xviii.  22).  In  the  house  of  Caiphas,  when  He  de 
clared  Himself  the  Son  of  God,  the  servants  spit  upon  His  face,  and 
gave  Him  blows;  Pilate  had  Him  scourged  (John  xix.  1),  and  handed 
Him  over  to  the  soldiers,  who  crowned  Him  with  thorns,  put  upon  Him 
a  purple  robe  (in  mockery  of  the  imperial  purple),  struck  Him  on 
the  head  with  a  reed,  and  derided  Him  (Mark  xv.  15-19).  On  Gol 
gotha  they  gave  Him  to  drink  wine  mixed  with  gall,  which,  when  He 
had  tasted  it,  He  would  not  drink  (Matt,  xxvii.  34). 

6.  For  His  garments  lots  were  to  be  cast  (Ps.  xxi.  19). 

The  soldiers  divided  His  garments  into  four  parts,  and  gave  to 
each  soldier  a  part.  His  coat  they  would  not  divide,  for  it  was  with 
out  seam,  woven  from  the  top  throughout.  They  therefore  cast  lots 
for  it  (John  xix.  23). 

7.  His  hands  and  feet  were  to  be  pierced  with  nails  (Ps.  xxi. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  169 

Our  Lord  was  really  fastened  by  nails  to  the  cross ;  for  He  showed 
to  St.  Thomas  the  wounds  in  His  hands  and  feet,  and  told  him  to 
place  his  finger  in  them  (John  xx.  27).  The  usual  practice  was  to  tie 
condemned  criminals  to  the  cross  with  ropes. 

8.  He  was  to  die  between  two  evil-doers. 

The  prophet  Isaias  says :  "  They  shall  give  the  ungodly  for  Hia 
burial,  and  the  rich  for  His  death"  (Is.  liii.  9).  He  died  between 
two  highway  robbers,  who  were  crucified  at  the  same  time  with  Him 
(Luke  xxiii.  33). 

9.  He  was  to  be  patient  as  a  lamb  in  His  sufferings  (Is.  liii. 
7),  and  was  to  pray  for  His  enemies  (Is.  liii.  12). 

10.  He  was  to  die  willingly  and  for  our  sins  (Is.  liii.  4—7). 

7.  Of  the  glory  of  the  Messias  the  prophets  made  the  follow 
ing  predictions: 

1.  He  was  to  make  His  grave  with  the  rich  (Is.  liii.  9),  and  it 
was  to  be  glorious  (Is.  xi.  10). 

2.  His  body  was  not  to  undergo  corruption  (Ps.  xv.  10). 

3.  He  was  to  return  to  heaven  (Ps.  Ixvii.  34),  and  was  to  sit 
011  the  right  hand  of  God  (Ps.  cix.  1). 

4.  His  doctrine  was  to  spread  from  Jerusalem  and   from 
Mount  Sion  over  the  whole  world  (Joel  ii.  28;   Is.  ii.  3). 

The  hall  of  the  Last  Supper,  where  the  apostles  received  the  Holy 
Ghost,  was  situated  on  Mount  Sion. 

5.  The  heathen  nations  of  the  whole  earth  were  to  be  re 
ceived  into  His  kingdom,  and  to  adore  Him  (Ps.  xxi.  28,  29). 

6.  The  Jewish  people,  who  had  put  the  Messias  to  death, 
were  to  be  severely  punished,  and  scattered  over  the  face  of  the 
earth  (Deut.  xxviii.  64). 

The  city  of  Jerusalem  was  to  be  destroyed  as  well  as  the  Temple ; 
the  Jewish  sacrifices  and  the  Jewish  priesthood  were  to  cease,  and  the 
Temple  was  never  to  be  rebuilt  (Dan.  ix.  26,  27;  Osee  iii.  4). 

7.  In  every  place  throughout  the  world,  a  "  clean  oblation  " 
(holy  Mass)  was  to  be  offered  to  Him  (Mai.  i.  11). 

8.  He  will  one  day  judge  all  men  (Ps.  cix.  6).     Before  the 
Day  of  Judgment  Elias  will  be  again  sent  on  the  earth  (Mai. 
iv.  5). 

8.  The  Messias  was  announced  through  many  types. 

The  twilight  announces  the  approach  of  the  sun;  so  the  lives  of 
the  patriarchs  announced  and  foreshadowed  the  coming  of  Christ. 
Almost  all  the  ceremonies  of  the  tabernacle  foreshadowed  the  cere 
monies  of  the  religion  of  Christ  (Col.  ii.  16,  17).  The  relation  of  the 
whole  of  the  Old  Testament  to  the  New  is  that  of  the  shadow  to  the 

170  Faith. 

substance  (Heb.  x.  1),  of  the  image  to  the  object  that  it  represents. 
The  ancient  covenant  was  the  veil  which  concealed  the  new.  The 
persons  and  things  which  thus  represent  in  the  Old  Testament  the 
persons  and  things  of  the  New,  are  called  types. 

The  types  of  the  Messias  were  as  follows:  Abel,  Noe,  Mel- 
chisedech,  Isaac,  Jacob,  Joseph,  Moses,  David,  Jonas,  the  arch 
angel  Raphael,  the  paschal  lamb,  the  offering  on  the  Day  of 
Atonement,  the  brazen  serpent,  and  the  manna. 

Abel  was  the  first  of  just  men ;  Christ  the  first  of  the  saints ;  Abel 
was  a  shepherd  and  offered  to  God  an  acceptable  offering;  he  was 
gentle  as  a  lamb,  but  he  was  hated  by  his  brother  and  murdered  by 
him.  Noe  was  the  only  just  man  among  all  those  around  him ;  Christ 
alone  was  without  sin.  ISToe  amid  his  course  of  preaching  built  the 
ark ;  so  Christ  the  Church.  Noe  saved  the  human  race  from  temporal 
death;  so  Christ  from  eternal  death.  Noe's  sacrifice  on  his  quitting 
the  ark  was  the  beginning  of  a  new  covenant ;  so  Christ's  011  leaving 
the  world.  Melchisedech,  i.e.,  king  of  justice,  was  King  of  Salem,  i.e., 
King  of  peace ;  Christ  was  both  King  and  Priest ;  He  offered  to  God 
bread  and  wine.  Isaac  was  the  only-begotten  and  well-beloved 
son  of  his  father.  He  himself  carried  the  wood  on  which  he  was  to 
be  sacrificed,  and  offered  himself  willingly;  he  was  restored  to  his 
father,  and  from  him  sprang  a  countless  offspring.  Jacob  was  perse 
cuted  by  his  brother,  but  afterwards  was  reconciled  to  him.  Though 
the  son  of  a  rich  father  he  wandered  in  a  strange  land  and  there 
won  his  bride  by  long  service ;  so  Christ  the  Church.  He  had  twelve 
sons,  of  whom  one  was  the  beloved  son ;  so  Christ  had  twelve  disciples, 
of  whom  St.  John  was  the  beloved  disciple.  Joseph,  the  well-beloved 
son  of  his  father,  was  hated  by  his  brethren,  and  sold  by  them  for  a 
few  pieces  of  silver;  after  great  humiliation  he  was  raised  to  the 
highest  honor,  and  by  his  counsel  saved  the  whole  people  from  death. 
Heralds  proclaimed  that  all  should  bow  the  knee  before  him  and  he 
was  reconciled  to  his  brethren.  Moses  when  a  little  child,  escaped  the 
cruel  command  of  the  king,  spent  his  youth  in  Egypt,  fasted  forty 
days  before  the  publication  of  the  ancient  law,  freed  the  Israelites 
from  slavery,  and  brought  them  to  the  Promised  Land,  worked  mir 
acles  in  proof  of  his  divine  mission,  interceded  for  the  people  to  God 
(Exod.  xxxii.  11 ;  Numb.  xiv.  13) ;  appeared  on  Mount  Sinai  with  a 
shining  countenance  (as  Christ  on  Thabor),  and  was  the  mediator  of 
the  ancient  covenant.  David  was  born  in  Bethlehem,  spent  his  youth 
in  a  humble  state,  vanquished  the  giant  Goliath,  the  enemy  of  the 
people  of  the  Lord:  was  King  of  Israel,  had  much  to  suffer,  and 
triumphed  over  all  his  enemies.  Jonas  was  three  days  and  three 
nights  in  the  belly  of  the  whale  (Matt.  xii.  40),  and  preached  penance 
to  the  Nmivites.  The  archangel  Gabriel  came  down  from  heaven  to 
conduct  safely  on  his  journey  one  of  the  children  of  men;  delivered 
'Tobias  from  blindness,  and  Sara  from  the  devil.  The  paschal  lamb 
was  slain  just  before  the  departure  of  the  Israelites  from  Egypt, 
and  therefore  on  the  Friday  preceding  the  paschal  Sabbath;  it  was 
offered  to  God  and  afterwards  eaten;  it  was  to  be  without  spot, 
and  in  the  prime  of  its  age;  not  a  bone  of  it  was  to  be  broken  (John 
xix.  36) ;  its  blood  sprinkled  on  the  posts  of  the  door  preserved  from 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  171 

temporal  death,  as  the  blood  of  Christ  from  spiritual  death.  It  was 
eaten  on  the  eve  of  the  departure  of  the  Israelites  to  the  Promised 
Land ;  so  Our  Lord  is  given  as  Viaticum  on  our  departure  for  heaven. 
The  emissary  goat  on  the  day  of  expiation  was  presented  by  the 
high  priest  before  the  Lord,  and  the  priest  then  laid  his  hands  upon 
its  head,  in  order  thereby  to  signify  that  the  sins  of  all  the  people 
were  transferred  to  it,  and  it  was  then  driven  out  to  die  in  the  desert 
(Lev.  xvi.  10).  So  Christ  had  the  sins  of  the  whole  world  laid  upon 
Him,  and  passed  from  heaven  into  the  desert  of  this  sinful  world 
to  die  for  us.  The  brazen  serpent  in  the  desert  was  set  up  on  a  piece 
of  wood,  and  all  who  looked  upon  it  were  healed  of  the  bite  of  the 
fiery  serpents  (Numb.  xxi.  6-9).  So  Christ  was  raised  up  on  the  wood 
of  the  cross,  and  all  who  look  to  Him  with  faith  and  hope  are  saved 
from  the  deadly  effects  of  sin.  Hence  Our  Lord  says :  "  As  Moses 
lifted  up  the  serpent  in  the  desert,  so  must  the  Son  of  man  be 
lifted  up,  that  whoever  believeth  in  Him  may  not  perish,  but  may 
have  life  everlasting"  (John  iii.  14,  15).  Lastly  the  manna  is  a  type 
of  Christ  in  the  Blessed  Sacrament  of  the  Altar;  it  was  white  and 
small,  came  down  from  heaven  every  day,  was  to  be  consumed  in  the 
early  morning,  was  given  only  during  the  journey  through  the  desert, 
and  contained  in  itself  all  sweetness.  In  all  these  things  it  resembles 
the  Blessed  Sacrament.  Our  Lord  says  that  there  is  this  difference 
between  the  manna  and  the  Blessed  Sacrament  of  the  Altar:  that 
Moses  did  not  give  the  Israelites  bread  from  heaven,  but  that  the 
Blessed  Sacrament  is  the  bread  that  came  down  from  heaven,  and 
giveth  life  to  the  world  (John  vi.  32,  33). 


1.  God  chose  for  Himself  a  special  nation,  and  prepared  it  for 
the  coming  of  a  Redeemer;  this  chosen  people  was  the  seed  of 
Abraham,  usually  called  by  the  name  of  Israelites,  or  Jews. 

Cf.  the  call  of  Abraham  (Gen.  xii.)  ;  the  Jews  to  be  a  priestly 
nation  (Exod.  xix.  6).  No  rejection  of  the  other  nations  is  implied  in 
this  election  of  the  Jews,  for  every  renewal  of  the  promise  of  a  Re 
deemer  recalled  a  blessing  that  all  the  nations  were  to  share  (Gen. 
xii.  3;  xxvi.  4;  xxviii.  14). 

The  ways  by  which  God  prepared  His  chosen  people  for  the 
Redeemer's  advent  were:  the  infliction  of  heavy  trials,  the  im 
position  of  severe  laws,  the  performance  for  them  of  miracles, 
and  the  giving  of  a  series  of  prophecies. 

The  sensuality  of  the  chosen  people  had  to  be  combated  by  many 
trials,  such  as  Pharao's  edict  against  the  children,  hunger  and 
thirst  in  the  desert,  the  fiery  serpents,  the  attacks  of  their  enemies, 
and  their  long  exile.  This  same  sensuality  and  insensibility  required 
that  the  law  should  be  promulgated  with  the  awe-inspiring  accom 
paniments  of  thunder  and  lightning.  Idolatry  was  another  sin  to 
which  the  chosen  people  were  prone,  as  we  see  in  the  incident  of  the 
golden  calf  (Exod.  xxxii.  1),  so  miracles  were  called  in  to  strengthen 

172  Faith. 

their  faith  and  trust  in  God,  such  as  those  performed  in  Egypt,  in 
the  passage  of  the  Red  Sea  and  the  Jordan,  the  manna  in  the  desert, 
the  water  drawn  from  the  dry  rock,  and  the  falling  down  of  the  walls 
of  Jericho,  etc.  The  prophesies  tended  in  the  same  direction,  as  well 
as  to  maintain  the  desire  of  the  coming  Redeemer. 

Of  the  history  of  the  Jewish  people  the  following  facts  are 
known  to  us: 

1.  The  descendants  of  Abraham  first  dwelt  in  Palestine,  and 
went  later  to  Egypt,  where  they  remained  for  the  space  of  four 
hundred  years,  and  were  cruelly  oppressed. 

About  the  year  2000  B.C.,  God  called  Abraham  and  bade  him  settle 
in  Palestine;  here  he  had  a  son,  Isaac,  who  was  the  father  of  Esau 
and  Jacob  ;  Jacob  secured  Esau's  birthright  and  had  to  fly  in  conse 
quence.  Jacob  (also  called  Israel)  had  twelve  sons,  of  whom  one  was 
Joseph,  who  being  sold  into  Egypt  became  the  ruler  of  the  land  under 
the  king,  invited  his  relatives,  some  sixty-six  in  number,  to  join  him, 
giving  them  the  fertile  district  of  Goshen,  lying  eastwards  of  the  Nile 
delta,  to  dwell  in  (about  1900  B.C.).  Here  the  Jews  increased  greatly 
in  numbers  and  had  much  to  endure  later  from  the  Egyptian  kings. 

2.  Under  the  leadership  of  Moses,  the  Israelites  left  Egypt 
and  wandered  in  the  desert  for  forty  years. 

Some  2,000,000  people  crossed  the  Red  Sea  (about  1500  B.C.)  into 
the  Arabian  desert,  where  they  were  fed  with  manna  and  received 
the  Ten  Commandments.  Moses  died  on  Mount 

3.  Under  Josue  they  entered  the  Promised  Land,  but  had  to 
fight  under  their  Judges  for  over  three  hundred  years,  against 
their  enemies  (1450-1100  B.C.). 

Josue,  the  successor  of  Moses,  divided  the  land  among  the  twelve 
tribes.  The  Judges  were  men  raised  by  God  for  times  of  special 
need,  such,  for  instance,  as  Gedeon,  Jephte,  Samson  and  Samuel. 

4.  The  Israelites  were  then  ruled  over  by  kings,  Saul,  David, 
and  Solomon  being  especially  famous  (1100-975  B.C.). 

Saul  was  unhappy  in  his  career  and  died  a  suicide.  David,  his 
successor  (1055-1015),  was  distinguished  for  his  piety;  he  composed 
many  of  the  Psalms  and  received  from  God  the  promise  that  the  Re 
deemer  should  be  of  his  family.  On  two  occasions  he  fell  into 
grievous  sin  and  was  visited  with  severe  chastisements.  His  son  and 
successor  Solomon  built  the  Temple  of  Jerusalem  (1012),  and  was 
known  far  and  wide  for  his  wisdom  and  splendor. 

5.  After   Solomon's   death  the  kingdom   was   divided   into 
two  parts,  forming  the  kingdom  of  Israel  in  the  north  (975-722) 
and  Juda  in  the  south  (975-588). 

Solomon's  son,  Roboam,  alienated  the  ten  northern  tribes  by  his 
taxations,  and  only  the  two  southern  tribes,  Juda  and  Benjamin,  re-' 
mained  to  form  the  kingdom  of  Juda. 

The  Apostles*  Creed.  173 

6.  Both  kingdoms  fell  away  from  the  true  God,  and  were  in 
consequence  destroyed,  and  their  inhabitants  led  away  into  cap 

Israel  had  nineteen  kings,  who  led  the  people  into  idolatry  in 
spite  of  the  efforts  of  the  prophets.  At  last,  Salmanasar,  in  722,  de 
stroyed  the  kingdom  and  carried  the  people  away  into  the  Assyrian 
captivity ;  the  fall  of  the  Assyrian  power  brought  the  exiles  under  the 
dominion  of  the  Babylonians  and  in  538  under  that  of  the  Persian 
king  Cyrus.  The  kingdom  of  Juda  had  twenty  kings,  and  held  out 
longer,  but  was  finally  reduced  by  Nabuchodonosor ;  the  people  were 
led  away  into  captivity  (606  and  599)  and  Jerusalem  and  the  Temple 

7.  After  the  return  from  the  captivity  (536)  the  Jews  lived 
in  peace  until  they  came,  in  203,  under  the  power  of  Antiochus, 
King  of  Syria. 

From  the  year  606  the  inhabitants  of  Juda  and  Israel  dwelt  under 
the  same  ruler,  and  came  to  be  known  indifferently  as  Jews.  Cyrus, 
who  obtained  possession  of  the  Babylonian  kingdom  in  538,  gave  per 
mission  two  years  later  to  the  Jews  to  return  and  rebuild  their  Tem 
ple;  some  42,000  Jews  availed  themselves  of  this  concession  to  return 
under  Zorobabel  to  Jerusalem,  where  they  raised  a  new  Temple  after 
twenty  years  of  work;  in  the  year  453  Artaxerxes  allowed  them  to 
build  walls;  they  still  remained  for  about  two  hundred  years  under 
Persian  dominion  and  were  well  treated.  Alexander  the  Great  and 
his  successors  then  had  the  mastery,  till  the  time  of  Antiochus 
Epiphanes  IV.,  who  began  a  religious  persecution,  putting  the 
Machabean  brothers  and  Eleazar  to  death,  and  placing  idols  in  the 

8.  The  Jews  regained  their  freedom  after  a  bloody  war,  and 
were  again  ruled  for  one  hundred  years  by  Jewish  kings,  from 
140  to  39  B.C. 

Machabeus  and  his  five  sons  helped  the  Jews  to  shake  off  the  Syrian 
yoke.  Simon,  one  of  the  Machabees,  reigned  as  high  priest  and  king 
in  140,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  descendants  till  the  advent  of 
Pompey  in  64,  who  reduced  the  Jewish  king  to  the  subjection  of 

9.  In  38  B.C.,  a  Gentile,  Herod,  became  King  of  Judea. 

As  Judea  was  always  a  focus  of  rebellion,  the  Jewish  king  was  de 
posed  and  replaced  by  Herod,  the  first  of  the  kings  who  was  not  a 
Jew.  He  it  was  who  massacred  the  children  at  Bethlehem.  At  his 
death  he  was  succeeded  by  his  son  Herod  Antipas,  who  put 
John  the  Baptist  to  death  and  treated  Our  Lord  as  a  fool.  His 
successor  was  his  uncle  Herod  Agrippa  the  Great,  who  beheaded 
St.  James  the  Elder,  and  cast  St.  Peter  into  prison.  He  usurped 
the  name  of  God  and  died  a  miserable  death,  eaten  by  worms, 
in  44  A.D.  In  70  A.D.  Jerusalem  was  destroyed  by  Titus,  and  the  Jews 
scattered  among  the  nations. 

174  Faith. 

2.  The  other  nations  of  the  earth  were  prepared  for  the  coming 
of  the  Redeemer  by  contact  with  the  chosen  people,  or  by  the  in 
fluence  of  exceptionally  gifted  men,  or  by  other  extraordinary 

The  ordinary  intercourse  of  trade,  as  well  as  the  enforced  exile, 
afforded  means  of  contact  with  the  heathen,  and  that  this  was  not 
unfruitful  we  learn  from  Tobias.  "  Give  glory  to  the  Lord,  ye  chil 
dren  of  Israel  .  .  .  because  He  hath  therefore  scattered  you  among 
the  Gentiles,  who  know  not  Him,  that  you  may  declare  His  wonder 
ful  works  and  make  them  know  that  there  is  no  other  almighty  God 
besides  Him  "  (Tob.  xiii.  3,  4).  Such  men  as  Socrates,  in  Greece,  had 
their  mission  in  decrying  the  cult  of  idols,  and  exhibiting  in  their 
persons' the  virtues  of  courage,  gentleness,  and  moderation;  we  might 
enumerate  also  Job  in  Arabia,  Joseph  in  Egypt,  Jonas  in  Ninive, 
Daniel  in  Babylon  and  others.  The  virtues  of  such  men,  their  cour 
age  in  confessing  the  true  God,  and  the  miracles  by  which  their  pro 
fession  was  verified,  as,  for  instance,  the  cases  of  the  children  in  the 
furnace  of  Nabuchodonosor  and  Daniel  in  the  lions'  den,  furnished 
abundant  motives  to  the  heathen  for  discerning  the  true  God;  and 
that  this  was  the  case  is  corroborated  by  the  numbers  of  proselytes. 
Besides  all  these,  other  methods  were  not  left  untried ;  e.g.,  the  mirac 
ulous  star  which  led  the  three  Magi  to  Bethlehem  (Matt.  ii.  2),  the 
angel's  message  to  Cornelius  the  centurion  (Acts  x.  3),  the  myste 
rious  handwriting  on  the  wall  of  the  palace  where  Baltassar  was  pro 
faning  the  sacred  vessels  (Dan.  v.  2),  the  dream  of  Nabuchodonosor 
(Dan.  ii.),  the  prophecy  of  Balaam's  ass,  etc. 

3.  Before  the  arrival  of  the  Redeemer  God  permitted  that  man 
kind  should  experience  the  deepest  misery,  in  order  to  rouse  it  to 
a  longing  for  a  Redeemer. 

The  greatest  dissension  reigned  among  the  Jews;  three  different 
sects  claimed  precedence:  the  Sadducees,  the  moneyed  class,  denied 
eternal  life;  the  Pharisees  adhered  rigidly  to  the  written  law;  the 
Essenes  withdrew  entirely  from  the  world  and  led  a  life  of  strict 
penance.  Among  the  heathen  there  was  a  general  ignorance  of  any 
religious  life,  together  with  monstrous  immorality.  The  gods,  ac 
cording  to  Hesiod,  were  too  numerous  to  be  counted  and  were  indif 
ferently  idols,  or  men  of  abominable  lives,  or  even  animals,  whose 
worship  was  signalized  by  scenes  of  debauchery  and  human  sacrifices ; 
heathens  were  not  wanting  who  recognized  the  sad  state  of  affairs; 
Horace,  for  instance,  in  one  of  his  odes  bewails  the  civil  wars,  and 
prays  the  virgin-born  Son  to  come  and  reign  among  His  people. 
Long  before  him  Socrates  had  expressed  the  wish  that  some  mediator 
should  come  from  heaven  to  teach  man  his  duty  to  God.  Jacob  (Gen. 
xlix.  10)  and  the  prophets  (Agg.  ii.  8)  only  echoed  the  popular  feel 
ing  when  they  called  the  Redeemer  "  the  expectation  of  the  nations." 
As  in  nations,  so  is  God's  action  to  be  seen  in  individuals,  and  the 
struggles  of  a  St.  Paul  and  a  St.  Augustine  served  to  make  them 
more  open  to  the  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost  and  more  zealous  in  their 
conversion  to  God. 

T1i,e  Apostles3  Creed.  175 


1.  The  Redeemer  lived  some  nineteen  hundred  years  ago  and 
remained  thirty-three  years  on  the  earth. 

In  the  early  Christian  times  the  date  was  reckoned  by  the 
consuls  of  the  year. 

From  the  time  of  the  great  Christian  persecution  under  Dio 
cletian,  the  Christians  began  to  reckon  their  years  from  the  accession 
of  that  tyrant  (the  era  of  the  martyrs).  Dionysius  Exiguus,  in  525, 
was  the  first  to  reckon  from  the  Annunciation  of  Our  Lady,  i.e.,  the 
conception  of  Christ.  Charlemagne  introduced  the  custom  of  dating 
from  the  birth  of  Christ.  There  is  an  error,  however,  of  four  years, 
so  that  Christ  was  actually  born  four  years  before  the  year  1  of  the 
Christian  era. 

The  time  preceding  Christ  is  known  as  that  of  the  Old  Tes 
tament  or  the  Old  Law,  that  following  as  the  New  Testament  or 
New  Law  (Heb.  ix.  15-17). 

The  word  testament  is  appropriate  as  expressing  the  will  of  God, 
recalling  the  legacy  of  the  Promised  Land  to  the  Jews,  and  to  Chris 
tians,  the  one  sealed  with  the  blood  of  animals,  the  other  with  the 
blood  of  Christ. 

2.  The  work  of  the  Redeemer  was  confined  for  the  most  part 
to  Palestine. 

Palestine  is  the  ancient  Chanaan,  known  later  as  Judea  or  the 
"  land  of  promise  "  or  the  "  holy  land,"  made  holy  by  the  presence  of 
Christ.  Its  small  extent  (it  was  only  about  half  the  size  of  Switzer 
land)  had  many  counterbalancing  advantages;  its  central  position 
adapted  it  for  the  spreading  of  the  true  religion,  its  fertility  in  the 
midst  of  the  surrounding  desert  made  it  independent  of  other  nations, 
and  secured  its  inhabitants  from  undesirable  intercourse  with  the 
heathen.  The  population  in  the  time  of  Our  Lord  was  about  5,000,- 
000,  of  whom  1,000,000  lived  at  Jerusalem.  At  the  present  day  the 
whole  population  is  only  half  a  million,  and  in  Jerusalem  hardly 
25,000.  , 

Palestine  is  situated  on  the  Mediterranean,  and  includes  both 
banks  of  the  Jordan. 

The  boundaries  of  Palestine  are :  Phoenicia  on  the  north,  the  desert 
on  the  east,  Arabia  on  the  south,  and  the  Mediterranean  on  the 
west.  The  Jordan,  a  river  varying  from  eighty  to  one  hundred 
and  fifty  feet  in  width,  the  scene  of  the  passage  of  the  Jews  and 
the  baptism  of  Our  Lord,  flows  in  a  turbid,  yellow  current,  and 
passes  through  the  little  lake  of  Merom  and  the  lake  of  Genesareth, 
the  scene  of  so  many  of  Christ's  labors,  and  finally  into  the  Dead 
Sea,  the  site  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrha.  On  its  way  it  receives  the 
brooks  Karith  and  Cedron. 

The  divisions  of  Palestine  are:  in  the  south,  Judea ^  in  the 

176  Faith. 

centre,  Samaria;   in  the  north,  Galilee,  and  in  the  east,  beyond 
the  Jordan,  Persea,  Itursea,  and  the  district  of  Trachonitis. 

The  inhabitants  of  Judea  were  the  firmest  adherents  of  the  true 
faith;  those  of  Samaria  had  given  themselves  up  to  the  worship  of 
idols,  and  the  Galileans,  especially  in  the  north,  were  in  part  pagans, 
despised  by  the  Jews  as  well  on  that  account  as  for  their  uncouth 

The  most  important  city  of  Palestine  was  Jerusalem,  where 
the  Temple  stood. 

Jerusalem  (i.e.,  City  of  Peace),  is  situate  on  four  hills,  of  which 
the  highest  is  Sion,  lying  westward  of  the  hill  of  Acre,  with  the  pool 
of  Siloe  lying  south;  to  the  north  is  Mount  Moriah,  on  which  the 
Temple  stood,  and  further  still  to  the  north  is  the  hill  of  Bezetha  and 
the  modern  town.  Westward  of  Moriah  is  Golgotha  or  Calvary. 
These  hills  lie  between  two  valleys,  of  which  the  westward  is  called 
Ilinnom  (or  hell,  because  there  the  Jews  used  to  sacrifice  their  chil 
dren  to  Moloch),  and  the  eastern,  the  valley  of  Josaphat  (or  judgment 
of  God,  on  account  of  the  tradition  that  God  would  judge  the  world 
there).  To  the  east  of  the  valley  of  Josaphat  is  the  Mount  of  Olives 
and  the  Garden  of  Gethsemani.  Jerusalem  was  in  existence  at  the 
time  of  Melchisedech,  who  reigned  there  about  2000  B.C.;  it  became, 
under  David  (about  1000  B.C.),  the  residence  of  the  Jewish  kings; 
about  four  hundred  years  later  (in  588  B.C.)  it  was  destroyed  by 
Nabuchodonosor,  restored  again  about  fifty  years  later  (536  B.C.),  and 
again  destroyed  by  the  Romans  under  Titus  in  the  year  70  A.D.  The 
Temple  in  Our  Lord's  time  was  a  magnificent  and  imposing  building 
(Cf.  Mark  xiii.  1)  of  white  stone;  it  had  an  outer  court,  the  court 
of  the  Gentiles,  and  an  inner,  the  court  of  the  priests,  containing  the 
altar  of  burnt  offerings.  Within  this  court  again  was  the  Temple 
proper,  a  building  of  about  thirty  metres  in  length,  ten  in  breadth, 
and  fifteen  in  height,  with  a  flat  roof  of  cedar.  The  Temple  proper 
consisted  of  the  vestibule,  the  holy  place,  and  the  holy  of  holies;  the 
walls  of  the  two  last  places  were  covered  with  solid  plates  of  gold 
and  the  two  chambers  were  separated  by  a  veil,  the  veil  of  the  Temple. 
In  the  holy  of  holies,  between  two  great  golden  cherubim,  lay  the  ark 
of  the  covenant  containing  the  tables  of  the  law,  Aaron's  staff,  and 
the  manna;  and  here  in  a  cloud  rested  the  majesty  of  *  God,  the 
Shechinah.  The  Temple  was  built  by  Solomon  about  1000  B.C., 
was  destroyed  by  Nabuchodonosor  in  588  B.C.,  and  in  516  was  rebuilt 
by  Zorobabel  on  the  return  from  the  Babylonian  exile  (though  the 
ark  was  no  longer  there),  and  was  restored  again  by  Herod  in  the 
time  of  Christ.  In  the  year  64  A.D.,  the  restoration  was  complete,  till 
the  Romans  came  in  70  A.D.,  and  destroyed  the  building.  Julian  the 
Apostate  endeavored  to  rebuild  it  in  361,  but  an  earthquake  cast  down 
the  works,  and  fire  coming  from  the  earth  drove  away  the  workmen. 
The  Temple  will  never  be  rebuilt  till  the  end  of  the  world  (Dan.  ix. 

Besides  Jerusalem  the  towns  of  Bethlehem  and  Nazareth  de 
serve  mention. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  177 

Places  of  interest  in  Judea :  South  of  Jerusalem  lies  Bethlehem, 
the  birthplace  of  Christ;  further  south  still  is  Hebron,  where  dwelt 
Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob,  and  the  parents  of  Si.  John  the  Baptist ; 
east  of  Jerusalem  is  Bethany,  the  village  where  Lazarus  dwelt,  and 
the  desert  of  Quarantania,  where  Our  Lord  went  through  His  forty 
days'  fast.  Northeast  of  Jerusalem  is  Jericho,  the  city  of  palms,  the 
abode  of  Zacheus,  the  penitent  tax-gatherer;  north  of  Jerusalem  is 
Emmaus,  where  Our  Lord  appeared  to  His  two  disciples  after  the 
resurrection;  on  the  seacoast  is  Joppe,  famous  in  the  annals  of  the 
crusades,  where  Peter  restored  Tabitha  to  life  and  was  summoned  to 
receive  the  Gentile  centurion,  Cornelius ;  further  to  the  south  and  ex 
tending  along  the  coast  is  the  district  which  was  formerly  the  land  of 
the  Philistines,  with  its  towns  of  Gaza  and  Ascalon ;  westward  of  the 
Dead  Sea  is  the  desert  of  Inda,  otherwise  called  the  desert  of  St. 
John.  Places  of  interest  in  Samaria:  The  capital  Samaria  is  situ 
ated  near  the  centre  of  the  district;  south  of  it  is  Jacob's  well,  near 
Sicham,  where  Our  Lord  spoke  with  the  Samaritan  woman ;  eastward 
is  Garizim,  where  the  Samaritans  had  a  temple  dedicated  to  the  serv 
ice  of  idols;  in  the  south  is  Siloe,  where  from  the  time  of  Josue, 
the  tables  of  the  law  were  kept  for  over  three  hundred  and  fifty  years ; 
along  the  coast  of  the  Mediterranean  stretches  the  fertile  plain  of 
Sharon ;  by  the  sea  is  situated  Csesarea,  the  residence  of  the  gover~ 
nors.  In  the  northwest,  close  by  the  sea  and  on  the  boundary,  is 
Mount  Carmel,  rising  some  thousand  feet,  its  fertility,  beauty,  and 
numerous  caves  making  it  peculiarly  adapted  to  the  wants  of  the  her 
mits  who  dwelt  there ;  it  was  the  scene  of  the  sacrifice  of  Elias  and  of 
the  priests  of  Baal.  Places  of  interest  in  Galilee:  Nazareth,  or  the 
city  of  flowers,  the  residence  of  the  Mother  of  God  at  the  time  of  the 
Annunciation,  and  of  Christ  till  His  thirtieth  year.  South  of  it  is 
Mount  Thabor,  where  the  transfiguration  took  place,  and  Nairn, 
where  Christ  restored  the  young  man  to  life.  East  of  Nazareth  is 
Cana,  where  Christ  performed  His  first  miracle  at  the  wedding-feast. 
On  the  lake  of  Genesareth  are  situated :  Capharnaum,  "  Christ's  own 
city,"  in  which  He  dwelt  and  where  He  worked  so  many  miracles, 
e.g.,  the  cure  of  the  centurion's  son,  and  the  raising  of  the  daughter 
of  Jairus;  here,  too,  He  promised  the  institution  of  the  Blessed 
Sacrament  and  called  the  apostle  Matthew ;  to  the  south  is  Bethsaida, 
whence  came  the  apostles  Andrew  and  Philip;  then  comes  Magd^la, 
the  dwelling-place  of  the  sinner  Magdalen;  Tiberias  is  also  a  town 
on  this  lake.  In  the  north  of  Galilee  is  Csesarea  Philippi,  where 
Peter  received  the  power  of  the  keys.  Quite  beyond  the  boundaries 
of  Galilee,  in  Phoenicia,  on  the  coast,  are  the  two  cities  of  Tyre  and 
Sidon,  more  than  once  visited  by  Christ.  On  the  borders  of  Galilee 
is  the  range  of  the  Lebanon,  ascending  to  10,000  meters,  and  covered 
with  perpetual  snow;  not  more  than  three  hundred  cedars  remain 
of  its  once  famous  forest;  to  the  east  is  Hermon,  rising  about  9500 
metres;  and  still  further  east  is  Damascus,  in  the  neighborhood  of 
which  St.  Paul  was  converted.  Places  of  interest  in  Perrea:  Close  by 
the  Dead  Sea,  and  eastward  of  the  mouth  of  the  Jordan,  near  to  Beth- 
abara  is  the  place  where  St.  John  baptized;  here  he  pointed  out 
Christ  and  called  Him  the  Lamb  of  God;  further  to  the  east  is  Mount 
Nebo,  on  which  Moses  died ;  south  of  the  lake  of  Genesareth  is  Pella, 

178  PaM. 

the  refuge  of  the  Christians  during  the  siege  of  Jerusalem  in  the 
year  70  A.D. 



The  Jews  called  the  coming  Redeemer  the  Messias  (in  Hebrew), 
or  the  Christ  (in  Greek),  i.e.,  the  Anointed  One.  The  "  anointed 
of  the  Lord "  was  the  usual  epithet  among  the  Jews  for  prophets, 
high  priests,  and  kings,  because  they  were  anointed  in.  sign  of  their 
mission  on  their  appointment  to  office,  and  this  anointing  symbol 
ized  the  light  and  strength  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  reminded  them  of 
the  duty  of  clemency.  The  coming  Messias  was  to  be  prophet,  priest, 
and  king,  all  in  one,  and  the  greatest  of  them  all,  hence  it  was  usual 
to  call  Him  simply,  "  the  anointed  of  the  Lord."  This  unction  of  the 
Messias  was  not  a  physical,  exterior  act,  but  the  interior  dwelling  of 
the  Holy  Spirit  (Ps.  xliv.  8;  Acts  x.  38). 

1.  Jesus  of  Nazareth  is  the  Redeemer,  because  all  the  proph 
ecies  have  their  fulfilment  in  Him, 

Jesus  often  appealed  to  this  circumstance  (John  v.  39;  Luke 
xviii.  31),  especially  in  His  conversation  with  the  two  disciples  011 
the  way  to  Emmaus  (Luke  xxiv.  26).  St.  Matthew  points  out  in  his 
gospel  how  the  prophecies  are  fulfilled  in  Christ.  Many  Jews  have 
been  converted  on  comparing  the  life  of  Christ  with  the  prophecies. 

2.  Jesus  of  Nazareth  is  the  Messias,  because  the  kingdom 
founded  by  Him  on  earth  has  been  enduring. 

The  success  of  many  of  those  who  claimed  to  be  the  Messias  has 
ever  been  merely  temporary;  but  Jesus  of  Nazareth  has  had  His  fol 
lowers  in  every  age.  Had  His  kingdom,  the  Church,  been  the  work  of 
men,  it  would  have  been  destroyed  long  ago.  That  it  has  survived, 
in  spite,  too,  of  so  much  persecution,  is  a  proof  that  it  is  God's  work, 
and  that  its  founder  must  be  the  heaven-sent  Messias  (Cf.  the  words 
of  Gamaliel,  Acts  v.  38). 

3.  Jesus  Himself  claimed  the  name  of  Redeemer. 


On  the  occasion  of  His   conversation  with  the  Samaritan 
woman,  and  in  presence  of  the  high  priest  Caiphas. 

The  Samaritan  woman  said  to  Christ  at  the  well :  "  I  know  that 
the  Messias  cometh  Who  is  called  Christ,"  and  Christ  replied :  "  I  am 
He  Who  am  speaking  with  thee  "  (John  iv.  25,  26).  The  high  priest 
Caiphas  said  to  Christ:  "I  adjure  Thee  by  the  living  God  that  Thou 
tell  us  if  Thou  be  Christ  the  Son  of  God,"  and  Christ  answered: 
"Thou  hast  said  it"  (Matt.  xxvi.  64).  On  another  occasion  St. 
Peter  was  commended  for  calling  Him  "  the  Christ,  the  Son  of  the 
living  God  "  (Matt.  xvi.  16). 

4.  The  angels  announced  Him  as  the  Redeemer. 

When  they  appeared  to  the  shepherds  near  Bethlehem,  and 
in  St.  Joseph's  vision. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  179 

An  angel  stood  by  the  shepherds  and  said :  "  Fear  not,  for  behold 
I  bring  you  good  tidings  of  great  joy  that  shall  be  to  all  the  people; 
for  this  day  is  born  to  you  a  Saviour,  Who  is  Christ  the  Lord " 
(Luke  ii.  10).  When  St.  Joseph  was  thinking  of  dismissing  our 
blessed  Lady,  an  angel  appeared  to  him  in  sleep  and  announced  the 
birth  of  Christ :  "  Thou  shalt  call  His  name  Jesus,  for  He  shall 
save  His  people  from  their  sins"  (Matt.  i.  21).  Since  Jesus  of 
Nazareth  is  the  Christ  or  Messias,  He  is  called  Jesus  Christ,  and  this 
is  the  name  He  Himself  uses  in  John  xvii.  3. 


The  Childhood  of  Christ. 

The  birth  of  Christ  was  announced  by  the  archangel  Gabriel 
to  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  at  Nazareth  (Luke  i.  28). 

This  event  is  commemorated  by  the  feast  of  the  Annunciation, 
which  is  kept  on  the  twenty-fifth  of  March,  by  the  Angelus,  and  in 
the  first  words  of  the  Hail  Mary.  After  the  angel's  salutation  Our 
Lady  set  out  to  visit  her  cousin,  St.  Elizabeth,  who  greeted  her  with 
the  words  contained  in  the  second  part  of  the  Hail  Mary,  and  Our 
Lady  replied  in  the  solemn  words  of  the  Magnificat  (Luke  i.).  The 
visitation  is  kept  on  the  second  of  July,  immediately  after  the 
octave  of  the  nativity  of  St.  John  Baptist.  St.  Joseph  also  was 
warned  of  the  birth  of  Christ  by  an  angel  (Matt.  i.  18-25),  when 
debating  on  the  advisability  of  putting  away  Our  Lady. 

3    1.  Christ  was  born  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  in  a  stable 
at  Bethlehem, 

Mary  and  Joseph  had  to  repair  to  their  native  place  of  Bethlehem 
to  be  enrolled  in  the  census  which  was  being  held  by  command  of  the 
Emperor  Augustus.  They  were  obliged  to  seek  refuge  in  a  stable, 
because  there  was  no  room  for  them  in  Bethlehem  (Luke  ii.  7).  As 
in  the  conception,  so  in  the  birth  of  Christ,  was  exception  made  to 
the  ordinary  course  of  nature.  Mary  was  free  from  the  penalties 
described  in  Gen.  iii.  16,  because,  as  St.  Bernard  says,  she  alone  had 
conceived  without  carnal  pleasure.  St.  Augustine  exclaims :  "  Behold 
He  Who  rules  the  world  lies  in  a  manger.  He  Who  feeds  the  angels 
is  suckled  by  His  Mother.  Strength  becomes  weak,  that  weakness 
may  be  made  strong;"  and  again,  "A  great  Physician  came  down 
from  heaven  to  heal  a  great  disease  on  earth;  He  healed  in  a 
way  hitherto  unheard  of,  for  He  took  our  ills  on  Himself."  "  Being 
rich  He  became  poor,  that  through  His  poverty  we  might  be  made 
rich"  (2  Cor.  viii.  9).  Every  circumstance  attending  the  birth  of 
Christ  has  a  deep  meaning.  Christ  was  born  at  Bethlehem  (the 
house  of  bread)  because,  as  St.  Jerome  says,  Pie  is  the  living  bread. 
He  is  born  far  away  from  His  home  in  Nazareth  because  He  de 
scended  from  heaven,  His  true  home,  and  is  a  stranger  among  men. 
He  is  born  amid  the  shepherds  and  their  flocks,  because  He  is  to  be 
the  "  Good  Shepherd  "  (John  x.  11)  of  a  great  flock.  He  is  born  in  a 
stable,  because  the  earth  in  comparison  of  heaven  is  but  a  stable. 

180  Faith. 

He  is  born  not  in  a  house,  but  in  a  stable,  that  all  might  have  con 
fidence  and  approach  Him,  says  St.  Peter  Chrysologus.  He  is  born 
in  obscurity,  because  He  is  the  "  hidden  God  "  (Is.  xlv.  15),  Whom  we 
cannot  see  in  this  life,  and  Who  loves  good  deeds  done  in  secret.  He 
is  laid  in  a  manger,  where  cattle  feed,  because  He  was  to  be  the 
food  of  man ;  and  He  is  laid  on  the  wood  to  recall  to  us  that  He  came 
down  from  heaven  to  die  on  the  cross.  So  too  He  dwells  in  our  tab 
ernacles.  He  is  born  at  midnight,  because  the  greater  portion  of  man 
kind  was  buried  in  darkness,  and  knew  nothing  of  the  true  God.  He 
is  born  in  the  winter  season,  and  at  night  (notice  that  the  nights  in 
Palestine  are  particularly  cold),  because  the  hearts  of  men  were  cold, 
unwarmed  yet  with  the  fire  of  charity.  Christ  drops  from  heaven  in 
the  night  time  like  the  dew  (Cf.  Is.  xlv.  8),  to  refresh  the  hearts  of 
men.  At  the  time  of  His  birth  the  temple  of  Janus  in  Rome  was  closed, 
and  there  was  peace  over  all  the  earth,  because  Christ  was  the  Prince 
of  peace  (Is.  ix.  6)  ;  and  the  God  of  peace  (1  Cor.  xiv.  33),  i.e.,  Our 
Lord,  came  as  a  little  child  that  man  might  approach  Him  with  more 
confidence;  had  He  come  as  a  great  king,  men  would  have  shrunk 
away,  while  as  a  child  He  invited,  not  awe,  but  sympathy.  Christ 
comes  in  poverty  and  renunciation  to  teach  us  that  the  road  to 
heaven  is  the  way  of  suffering  and  self -conquest,  not  of  pleasure  and 
self-indulgence.  Besides  this  He  would  show  that  He  is  the  Friend 
of  the  poor  to  whom  He  is  appointed  to  preach  the  Gospel  (Luke  iv. 
18).  A  light  appeared  to  the  shepherds  to  remind  us  that  the  Light 
of  the  world  is  come  (John  viii.  12),  Who  is  to  shine  in  the  midst  of 
the  darkness  (John  i.  5).  The  hymn  of  the  angels  is  the  keynote  of 
His  mission,  to  glorify  God  (John  xiii.  32),  and  to  give  peace  to  men 
(John  xiv.  27),  especially  peace  with  God,  reconciling  man  to  God  by 
H^s  death  on  the  cross,  peace  with  self,  the  true  peace  which  comes 
from  the  knowledge  and  practice  of  the  Gospel,  and  peace  with  the 
neighbor  by  the  virtues  of  brotherly  love,  love  of  one's  enemy,  and 
meekness.  He  announced  His  birth  by  the  voice  of  an  angel  to  the 
shepherds,  and  not  to  the  proud  Pharisees  and  Scribes,  because  He 
would  hide  His  mysteries  from  the  wise  and  prudent  and  reveal  them 
to  the  little  ones  (Matt.  xi.  25)  ;  because  He  gives  His  graces  to  the 
humble  and  resists  the  proud  (1  Pet.  v.  5).  Such,  too,  is  the  disposi 
tion  of  God's  providence  in  all  time;  to  the  proud,  whatever  their 
learning,  the  teachings  of  Christ  are  a  sealed  book,  while  the  lowly 
and  humble  receive  God's  light.  The  first  to  receive  the  call  to  the 
crib  were  the  Jews  in  the  person  of  the  shepherds,  and  after  them 
the  Gentiles,  in  the  persons  of  the  three  kings;  all  to  signify  that 
Christ  would  first  call  into  His  Church  the  Jews  (Matt.  xv.  24),  and 
afterwards  the  Gentiles  by  means  of  His  apostles.  The  wonderful 
star  in  the  East  was  to  announce  that  Christ  "  the  wonderful "  (Is. 
ix.  6)  had  come  down  from  heaven.  The  census  of  the  people  at  the 
time  of  His  birth  reminds  us  of  the  great  enrolment  which  will  take 
place  at  His  second  coming.  "  Christ  begins  to  teach  us  in  His  birth 
even  before  uttering  a  word."  "  The  deeds  of  the  Lord  are  com 
mands  ;  if  He  does  anything  in  silence,  He  means  that  we  should  imi 
tate  Him,"  is  the  comment  of  St.  Gregory  the  Great. 

In  the  liturgy  of  the  Church  we  celebrate  Our  Lord's  birth  on  the 
twenty-fifth  of  December  (Christmas  Day).    On  that  day  every  priest 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  181 

has  the  privilege  of  saying  three  Masses,  which  recall  the  threefold 
birth  of  Christ :  the  eternal  birth  from  God  the  Father,  the  birth  in 
time  from  the  womb  of  Mary,  and  His  spiritual  birth  in  our  hearts. 
A  crib  is  generally  erected  in  most  churches,  a  practice  originated 
by  St.  Francis  of  Assisi.  In  many  households  there  is  kept  up  the 
custom  of  the  Christmas-tree,  a  reminder  of  the  fatal  tree  of  para 
dise,  and  also  of  the  tree  of  the  cross.  The  Christmas-boxes  recall  to 
our  minds  the  gifts  of  God  the  Father  to  mankind  on  this  day.  Im 
mediately  following  Christmas  are  the  feasts  of  St.  Stephen,  St. 
John,  and  the  Holy  Innocents,  as  though  the  Church  would  say :  "  If 
you  would  follow  Christ,  you  must  become  a  martyr  like  St.  Stephen, 
if  not  to  the  shedding  of  blood,  at  least  to  the  denial  of  self  and  the 
bearing  of  suffering.  You  must  love  God  and  your  neighbor  like  St. 
John,  and  do  works  of  mercy;  and  finally  you  must  be  like  a  child 
with  God." 

The  new-born  Child  is  adored  first  by  the  shepherds  and 
then  by  the  Magi. 

The  shepherds  were  told  by  an  angel  of  the  birth  of  the  Saviour 
(Luke  ii.  9)  ;  the  three  kings  were  led  to  Him  by  a  star  (Matt.  ii.  9). 
This  star  was  something  exceptional,  for  it  had  a  proper  motion  of 
its  own  in  the  heavens;  according  to  St.  John  Chrysostom,  it  may 
have  been  an  angel,  under  the  appearance  of  a  star.  Catherine  Em 
merich,  in  her  revelations,  says  that  this  star  had  various  aspects ; 
at  times  it  appeared  as  a  child  carrying  a  cross,  or  a  woman  with  a 
child ;  again  as  a  chalice  with  grapes  and  wheat  ornamenting  it,  as  a 
church,  or  forming  the  word  Judea,  etc.  St.  Irenaaus  remarks  that 
the  presents  indicated  their  esteem  of  Him  to  Whom  the  three  kings 
offered  them.  Gold,  the  symbol  of  homage,  is  offered  to  Him  as 
King;  incense,  the  symbol  of  prayer,  because  He  is  God;  and  myrrh, 
the  symbol  of  mortification,  because  as  Our  Redeemer,  He  was  to 
suffer.  The  Magi  returned  to  their  homes  by  another  way,  "  to 
show  us,"  says  St.  Gregory  the  Great,  "  that  if  we  wish  to  reach  our 
true  home  in  paradise  we  must  forsake  the  path  in  which  we  have 
hitherto  walked,  and  tread  in  the  way  of  penance,  obedience,  and 
self-denial."  The  shepherds  represented  the  Jews  and  the  poor;  the 
three  kings  the  Gentiles  and  the  rich.  The  relics  of  the  three  kings 
were  taken  from  the  East  to  Cologne  in  1162  by  Barbarossa,  and  now 
repose  in  the  Cathedral  there.  The  feast  of  the  three  kings  is  held 
on  the  sixth  of  January.  In  many  countries  there  still  exists  the  cus 
tom  of  blessing  on  this  day  the  water  of  the  three  kings,  and  the 
blessing  of  chalk  and  salt  is  not  unusual.  The  initials  of  the  names 
of  the  three  kings  are  sometimes  marked  on  the  doors  of  houses  to 
claim  their  patronage.  This  feast  is  called  also  the  Epiphany,  be 
cause  in  former  times  the  birth  of  Christ,  or  appearance  of  Christ 
to  mankind,  was  celebrated  on  this  day.  Hence  in  the  Greek  Church 
the  season  of  Advent  is  prolonged  till  the  Epiphany.  This  day  is 
also  celebrated  as  the  one  on  which  Christ  was  baptized  in  the  Jor 
dan,  and  performed  His  first  miracle  at  Cana. 

When  the  Child  was  eight  days  old  He  was  circumcised,  and 
received  the  name  Jesus  (Luke  ii.  21). 

182  Faith. 

Jesus  (in  Hebrew  Joshua  or  Josue)  means  Saviour.  This  name 
is,  as  St.  Paul  says,  above  all  names  (Phil.  ii.  9),  for  it  was  chosen  by 
God  Himself  and  revealed  to  the  Virgin  Mary  (Matt.  i.  21).  More 
over  the  holy  name  has  great  virtue;  its  invocation  brings  help  in 
temptation  and  affliction;  the  powers  of  hell  shrink  from  it  (Mark 
xvi.  17).  The  name  usually  given  by  the  prophets  was  Emmanuel, 
i.e.,  "God  with  us"  (Is.  vii.  14).  The  feast  of  the  Circumcision  on 
the  first  of  January  is  also  New  Year's  Day.  The  Church  would  thus 
teach  us  to  begin  everything  in  the  name  of  Jesus.  Innocent  XII., 
in  1691,  was  the  first  to  order  the  practice  of  beginning  the  New  Year 
on  the  first  of  January ;  previously  it  had  been  Christmas  Day.  It  is 
a  pious  custom  in  many  places  to  have  a  solemn  thanksgiving  service 
and  to  sing  the  Te  Deum  on  the  last  day  of  the  year,  in  thanksgiving 
for  past  favors. 

When  the  Child  was  forty  days  old,  He  was  presented  in  the 
Temple  (Luke  ii.  39). 

Mary  complied  with  the  law  of  Moses  (Lev.  xii.),  though,  being 
free  from  sin,  she  needed  no  purification.  The  feast  of  the  Purifica 
tion  is  called  also  Candlemas;  on  that  day  candles  are  blessed,  and 
carried  in  procession  in  memory  of  these  words  of  holy  Simeon  call 
ing  Our  Lord  the  "  light  for  the  revelation  of  the  Gentiles  "  (Luke  ii. 

2.  Christ  spent  the  first  years  of  His  childhood  in  Egypt,  and 
after  that  lived  at  Nazareth  till  He  was  thirty. 

An  angel  told  Joseph  to  fly  because  Herod  was  seeking  to  kill  the 
Child  (Matt.  ii.  13).  After  the  escape  of  Our  Lord  Herod  put  to 
death  all  the  children  in  Bethlehem  under  two  years  of  age.  This 
was  a  judgment  on  the  people  of  Bethlehem  for  their  refusal  of  hospi 
tality  to  the  Holy  Family;  the  little  children  themselves  gained  by 
their  death  the  joys  of  heaven.  In  Egypt  there  is  still  to  be  seen  the 
dwelling-place  of  the  Holy  Family  in  a  suburb  of  Cairo,  the  ancient 
Heliopolis.  The  land  so  sanctified  by  the  presence  of  Our  Lord  be 
came  later  the  abode  of  thousands  of  monks,  who  led  lives  like  to 
those  of  the  angels ;  men  such  as,  for  instance,  St.  Anthony  and  St. 
Paul  of  Thebes ;  here  St.  Pachomius  founded  the  first  monastery,  on 
an  island  of  the  Nile.  After  His  return  from  Egypt  Christ  went  to 
live  in  Nazareth,  a  place  of  little  esteem  among  the  Jews,  therefore 
useful  in  teaching  us  the  lesson  of  humility ;  and  for  thirty  years  He 
stayed  there  that  we  might  learn  from  Him  the  lesson  of  detachment 
from  the  world. 

When  Christ  was  twelve  years  old  He  went  up  to  the  Temple 
in  Jerusalem. 

It  was  on  this  occasion  that  He  made  the  doctors  of  the  law 
marvel  at  His  wisdom  (Luke  ii.  47). 

When  Christ  was  grown  up  John  the  Baptist  began  to  preach 
His  coming  in  the  desert. 

We  have  the  following  facts  about  John  the  Baptist.    The  arch- 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  183 

angel  Gabriel  announced  his  approaching  birth  to  Zachary  at  the 
hour  of  sacrifice  in  the  Temple;  and  when  the  latter  was  incredulous 
he  was  struck  dumb  (Luke  i.),  regaining  his  speech  at  the  birth  of  St. 
John  and  using  it  to  proclaim  the  noble  canticle  of  the  Benedictus 
(Luke  i.  68-79).  St.  John  spent  his  life  in  the  desert  in  penance  and 
preparation  for  his  office  as  forerunner  of  the  Redeemer.  When 
Christ  had  reached  His  twenty-eighth  year  (Luke  iii.  1),  the  Baptist 
came  from  his  solitude,  and  preached  to  the  Jews  who  flocked  to  him 
on  the  banks  of  the  Jordan,  the  doctrine  of  penance  and  baptism 
(Matt.  iii.).  It  was  he  who  pointed  out  Christ:  "  Behold  the  Lamb  of 
God  Who  taketh  away  the  sins  of  the  world  "  (John  i.  29).  His  cour 
ageous  rebuke  to  Herod  caused  him  to  be  cast  into  prison  (Matt.  xiv. 
4),  and  later  to  be  beheaded  (Matt.  xiv.  10).  He,  like  Elias,  is  the 
forerunner  and  the  type  of  hermit  life. 

The  Public  Life  of  Christ. 

1.  When  Christ  was  thirty  years  old,  He  was  baptized  by  John 
in  the  Jordan  (Matt.  iii.  13),  and  fasted  forty  days  in  the  desert, 
where  He  was  tempted  by  the  devil  (Matt.  iv.). 

All  apostolic  men  have  sought  retirement  before  entering  on  their 
mission,  e.g.,  Moses,  John  the  Baptist,  and  the  apostles  before  the 
coming  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  By  His  fasting  and  His  victory  over  the 
devil  Christ  would  satisfy  for  Adam's  self-indulgence  and  defeat  in 
the  garden  of  paradise.  The  number  forty  has  a  special  signifi 
cance  ;  it  rained  forty  days  on  earth  at  the  Flood,  Moses  and  Elias 
fasted  forty  days,  the  Ninivites  had  forty  days  in  which  to  repent, 
Christ  dwelt  on  earth  forty  days  after  His  resurrection,  the  Jews 
wandered  forty  years  in  the  desert.  The  forty  days  of  Lent  are  in 
tended  to  commemorate  the  fasting  of  Christ;  they  begin  with  Ash- 
Wednesday  and  continue  till  Easter.  During  this  time  those  who  are 
of  age  should  take  only  one  full  meal  a  day,  and  all  Christians  should 
avoid  boisterous  amusements  and  meditate  on  the  sufferings  of 
Christ.  Thus  sermons  are  preached  on  the  sufferings  of  Christ;  on 
Passion  Sunday  the  images  in  the  church  are  veiled  and  the  priest 
says  Mass  in  purple  vestments.  The  three  days  before  Ash  Wednes 
day  are  called  Shrovetide,  and  in  order  to  divert  the  faithful  from 
vicious  pleasures  it  is  usual  in  some  places  to  have  Exposition  of 
the  Blessed  Sacrament. 

2.  Christ  taught  for  about  three  and  a  half  years,  gathered 
some  seventy-two  disciples,  and  from  these  chose  twelve  apostles. 

His  first  miracle  was  at  the  wedding-feast  of  Cana,  to  teach  man 
kind  that  the  heaven  to  which  He  would  lead  us  is  a  wedding-feast 
(Matt.  xxii.  2).  He  often  addressed  large  crowds,  counting  four  or 
five  thousand,  as  in  the  case  of  the  miraculous  multiplication  of 
loaves;  thus  Zacheus  had  to  climb  a  tree  in  order  to  see  Him  among 
the  crowd.  The  constant  companions  of  Christ  were  the  apostles  and 
disciples,  who  heard  His  words  and  saw  His  deeds  and  published 
them  later  to  the  world.  The  bishops  of  the  Church  are  prefigured  in 
the  apostles,  and  the  priests  in  the  seventy-two  disciples.  The  teach 
ing  of  Christ  is  rightly  called  Evangelium,  "  good  tidings,"  or  by  our 

184  Faith. 

English  name  Gospel,  i.e.,  God's  spell  or  narrative.  Christ  is  the 
Master  among  teachers.  He  taught  as  one  having  power,  so  that  the 
people  marvelled  at  His  doctrine  (Mark  i.  22;  Matt.  vii.  29). 

Christ  taught  so  that  all  might  understand  Him  without 
difficulty;  He  used  plain,  homely  words,  and  illustrated  His 
teaching  with  signs  and  parables  and  by  references  to  natural  ob 

Christ's  teaching  is  likened  to  the  treasure  buried  in  a  field 
(Matt.  xiii.  44).  The  language  of  apostolic  men  has  always  been 
simple,  their  object  not  so  much  to  please  as  to  be  understood 
and  to  be  useful.  The  signs  which  Christ  made  use  of  were  breathing 
on  the  apostles  when  He  gave  them  the  Holy  Spirit,  lifting  up  His 
hands  (Luke  xxiv.  50)  when  He  gave  them  power  to  teach  and  bap 
tize,  spitting  on  the  earth  and  making  clay,  with  which  He  touched 
the  eyes  of  the  man  born  blind  (John  ix.  6),  and  sending  him  to  wash 
in  the  pool  of  Siloe.  All  this  signified  that  the  living  doctrine  which 
is  imparted  to  man,  the  creature  of  earth,  from  the  mouth  of  God, 
is  to  clear  his  spiritual  sight,  and  even  after  that  the  washing  of 
baptism  is  still  necessary.  The  parables  used  were,  for  example,  the 
prodigal  son,  the  Good  Samaritan,  Dives  and  Lazarus,  the  wise  and 
foolish  virgins,  the  good  shepherd,  the  lost  sheep,  the  lost  groat,  the 
fig  tree,  the  laborers  in  the  vineyard,  etc.,  and  the  seven  figures  of  the 
kingdom  of  heaven,  such  as  the  pearl  of  great  price,  the  buried  treas 
ure,  the  seine,  the  grain  of  mustard-seed,  the  cockle  and  wheat,  the 
sower,  the  leaven.  The  objects  in  nature  on  which  He  drew  for  illus 
tration  were,  among  others,  the  shepherd  with  his  sheep,  the  lilies  of 
the  field,  the  crops,  the  vineyards,  etc.  It  is  only  reasonable  that 
nature  and  religion  should  have  many  resemblances,  coming  as  they 
do  from  the  same  God. 

The  poor  were  the  especial  objects  of  Christ's  mission. 

His  own  words  to  the  disciples  of  John  were :  "  The  poor  have 
the  Gospel  preached  to  them"  (Matt.  xi.  5).  And  in  the  synagogue 
at  Nazareth  He  applied  to  Himself  as  the  Messias  (Luke  iv.  18),  the 
words  of  the  prophet :  "  to  preach  the  Gospel  to  the  poor  He  hath  sent 

The  leading  idea  in  the  teaching  of  Christ  was:  "  Seek  the 
kingdom  of  God." 

His  own  words  in  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount  were :  "  Seek  first  the 
kingdom  of  God"  (Matt.  vi.  33).  The  Evangelists  sum  up  His 
teaching  in  the  words :  "  Do  penance  and  believe  the  Gospel,  for  the 
kingdom  of  heaven  is  nigh"  (Matt.  iv.  17;  Mark  i.  15). 

Christ  taught  a  new  rule  of  faith,  gave  new  commandments, 
and  established  a  new  system  of  means  of  grace. 

For  example  He  taught  the  mystery  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  His 
own  divinity,  the  Last  Judgment ;  He  gave  the  two  precepts  of  love, 
and  extended  the  Ten  Commandments  (forbidding  rash  anger  and 
harsh  words).  He  instituted  the  Mass  and  the  seven  sacraments  and 
taught  us  the  Our  Father. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  185 

3.  Christ  proved  His  divine  mission  and  the  truth  of  His,  doc 
trine  by  many  miracles,  by  His  knowledge  of  all  things,  and  by  the 
holiness  of  His  life. 

Christ  Himself  appealed  to  His  miracles :  "  Though  you  will 
not  believe  Me,  believe  the  works"  (John  x.  38).  JSTicodemus  was 
convinced  of  the  divine  mission  of  Christ  by  His  miracles :  "  No  man 
can  do  these  signs  which  Thou  dost,  unless  God  be  with  Him  "  (John 
iii.  2).  Christ  of  His  own  power  worked  miracles;  others  in  the 
name  of  God  or  of  Christ.  Christ  knew  all  things — the  most  hidden 
sins  of  men,  those  of  the  Samaritan  woman,  those  of  the  Pharisees 
who  dragged  before  Him  the  woman  taken  in  adultery;  Pie  knew  of 
Judas'  plot  against  Himself,  of  Peter's  coming  denial,  and  related 
many  incidents  of  His  Passion  just  as  they  afterwards  happened. 
We  see  in  Christ  the  highest  holiness;  never  were  seen  before  or 
since,  such  patience,  gentleness,  love,  etc.  How  could  such  a  one  say 
anything  but  the  truth  ? 

The  Scribes  and  Pharisees  hated  and  persecuted  Him  be 
cause  He  failed  to  realize  their  carnal  views  of  the  Messias, 
and  because  He  publicly  rebuked  their  sins ;  after  the  raising  of 
Lazarus  they  resolved  to  seek  His  death. 

They  tried  to  stone  Him  in  the  Temple  (John  x.  31),  and  at  Naz 
areth  to  cast  Him  over  the  cliff ;  they  calumniated  Him,  calling  Him 
an  agent  of  the  devil  (Matt.  xii.  24),  a  leader  of  revolt,  a  Sabbath- 
breaker;  they  tried  to  catch  Him  in  His  speech,  as  in  the  case  of 
Caesar's  coin.  The  Jews  thought  that  the  Messias  was  to  be  an 
earthly  being,  who  would  free  them  from  the  Eoman  yoke,  and  raise 
them  above  the  nations  of  the  earth.  Instead  of  which  Pie  came  in 
poverty  and  lowliness  and  taught  self-denial,  mercy,  etc.  Besides 
He  accused  the  Pharisees  of  hypocrisy,  calling  them  whitened  sepul 
chres  (Matt,  xxiii.  27),  and  children  of  the  devil  (John  viii.  44). 

The  Sufferings  of  Christ. 

1.  On  the  Sunday  preceding  the  feast  of  Easter  Christ  made 
a  solemn  entry  into  Jerusalem  and  taught  in  the  Temple  during 
the  days  following. 

The  Church  celebrates  this  solemn  entry  by  the  blessing  of 
palms  and  the  procession  on  Palm  Sunday.  In  the  course  of  the 
High  Mass  the  history  of  the  Passion  as  related  by  St.  Matthew  is 
read  by  the  celebrant  and  sung  by  the  choir.  During  the  blessing  of 
the  palms  the  priest  prays  that  God  may  preserve  from  sin  and 
danger  those  who  receive  these  palms  and  keep  them  in  their  houses. 
The  week  following  Palm  Sunday  is  called  Holy  Week. 

2.  On  Holy  Thursday  evening  Christ  ate  the  Pasch  with  His 
disciples,  instituted  the  Blessed  Sacrament,  and  then  went  out  to 
the  Mount  of  Olives,  where  He  suffered  His  agony  and  bloody 

Before  the  institution  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament  He  washed  the 

186  Faith. 

feet  .of  His  apostles  to  teach  us  humility.  His  conduct  in  the 
Garden  of  Gethsemani  was  a  lesson  of  humble  prayer,  conformity  to 
God's  will,  and  patience  under  suffering.  In  the  words  of  St.  Am 
brose  :  "  The  Lord  took  my  griefs  on  Him  that  He  might  share  His 
joys  with  me."  In  many  places  it  is  the  custom  to  ring  a  bell  at  eight 
o'clock  in  the  evening  to  recall  the  agony  in  the  garden.  The  follow 
ing  ceremonies  are  in  more  general  use:  The  Pope  washes  the 
feet  of  twelve  priests — a  practice  kept  up  since  the  time  of  Greg 
ory  the  Great.  The  bishops  and  governors  in  many  places  wash  the 
feet  of  twelve  old  men.  During  the  Gloria  in  the  High  Mass  all  the 
bells  are  rung,  and  the  priests  and  laity  go  to  communion  to  com 
memorate  the  institution  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament.  The  procession 
of  the  Blessed  Sacrament  to  the  altar  of  repose  is  to  recall  Our 
Lord's  journey  to  the  Mount  of  Olives.  The  stripping  of  the  altars 
and  the  silence  of  the  bells  are  signs  of  the  Church's  sympathy  with 
her  Saviour.  The  blessing  of  the  oils  which  takes  place  in  the  Cathe 
dral  churches,  which  is  of  ancient  institution,  suggests  that  Christ 
may  have  instituted  some  of  the  sacraments  at  the  Last  Supper. 

Christ  was  seized  by  the  soldiers  in  the  garden,  led  before  the 
high  priest,  and  condemned  to  death. 

On  the  Wednesday,  Thursday,  and  Friday  of  Holy  Week,  Tenebroa 
is  celebrated  in  the  evening.  On  a  triangular  frame  in  front  of  the 
altar  there  are  placed  fourteen  candles  of  unbleached  wax,  and  at  the 
upper  angle  one  of  white  wax;  the  white  candle  represents  Our  Lord 
and  the  unbleached  candles  His  apostles  and  disciples.  At  each  of 
the  antiphones  which  recur  at  intervals  during  the  recital  of  the 
psalms,  a  candle  is  extinguished  to  represent  the  flight  of  the  disciples 
after  the  capture  of  Our  Lord.  At  the  end  of  the  service  the  white 
candle  is  hidden  for  a  time  behind  the  altar,  a  noise  is  made,  and  the 
candle  replaced  on  the  stand;  all  signifying  the  death  and  resurrec 
tion  of  Our  Lord  with  the  accompanying  convulsions  of  nature. 

From  the  court  of  the  high  priest  Christ  was  led  by  the  Jews 
before  Pontius  Pilate,  to  receive  the  ratification  of  the  death- 

The  Jews  had  no  power  to  put  any  one  to  death,  so  they  were 
obliged  to  have  recourse  to  the  Roman  governor  (John  xviii.  31). 
Pilate  could  see  no  reason  for  condemning  Christ,  and  made  several 
attempts  to  set  Him  at  liberty;  he  sent  Him  to  Herod  and  offered 
to  give  up  Barabbas  in  exchange ;  to  enlist  the  sympathy  of  the  Jews, 
he  caused  Our  Lord  to  be  scourged  and  crowned  with  thorns  and  in 
that  state  to  be  presented  to  the  crowd,  but  they  clamored  only  the 
more  for  the  blood  of  Jesus,  and  threatened  to  accuse  Pilate  to  the 

Pilate,  alarmed  by  the  threats  of  the  Jews,  condemned  Our 
Lord  to  the  death  of  the  cross. 

The  devotion  of  the  Stations  of  the  Cross  commemorates  all  these 
details  of  the  Passion.  The  distance  to  Calvary  was  some  thirteen 
hundred  paces. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  187 

3.  On  Good  Friday  at  noon,  Christ  was  nailed  to  the  cross  on 
the  hill  of  Calvary,  just  outside  Jerusalem,  and  died  on  the  cross 
about  three  o'clock. 

Cicero  is  our  authority  that  crucifixion  was  at  that  time  the  most 
shameful  and  terrible  of  deaths,  to  which  none  but  the  greatest  crim 
inals  were  subjected.  Hence  the  doctrine  of  the  Crucified  was  a 
scandal  to  the  Jews  and  folly  to  the  heathen  (1  Cor.  i.  23).  Yet  to 
day  the  cross  is  the  badge  of  honor,  worn  in  the  crowns  of  kings, 
and  on  the  breasts  of  men  proud  of  the  decoration.  In  the  words  of 
St.  Athanasius  sin  was  repaired  on  the  tree  where  sin  was  com 
mitted;  and  where  death  began  there  life  arose,  as  the  Church  sings 
in  the  preface  of  the  Mass.  Christ  was  not  beheaded,  nor  His  body 
dismembered;  so  are  we  taught  that  His  mystical  body,  the  Church, 
should  remain  ever  undivided.  Christ  bent  His  head  to  kiss* us, 
spread  His  arms  to  embrace  us,  and  opened  His  Heart  to  love  us  (St. 
Augustine).  The  Heart  of  Jesus  was  opened  that  its  wounds  might 
reveal  to  us  the  hidden  wounds  of  His  love  for  us  (St.  Bernard).  It 
was  not  the  soldiers,  but  His  love  for  us,  which  nailed  Christ  to  the 
cross  (St.  Augustine). 

During  these  three  hours  the  sun  was  darkened  over  the 
earth,  though  an  eclipse  was  impossible  at  the  time  of  the  full 

As  St.  John  Chrysostom  says,  the  sun  hid  his  rays  that  he  might 
not  behold  the  sufferings  of  his  Maker.  This  darkening  of  the  sun 
is  mentioned  by  heathen  writers. 

At  the  death  of  Christ  the  earth  opened,  the  rocks  split,  the 
veil  of  the  Temple  was  rent,  and  many  of  the  dead  arose  and  ap 
peared  in  Jerusalem. 

All  creation  was  in  sympathy  with  Christ,  excepting  man,  for 
whom  Christ  was  suffering  (St.  Jerome).  These  marvels  caused 
many  to  acknowledge  the  Godhead  of  Christ,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
centurion,  who  exclaimed :  "  Indeed,  this  was  the  Son  of  God !  "  (Matt, 
xxvii.  54.)  One  may  still  see  on  Calvary  a  rent  in  the  rock  between 
the  site  of  Our  Lord's  cross  and  that  of  the  thief  on  His  left. 

Christ  spoke  on  the  cross  the  seven  last  words. 

These  words  were:  (1).  "Father,  forgive  them."  (2).  "To-day 
thou  shalt  be  with  Me  in  paradise."  (3).  "Behold  thy  Mother." 
(4).  "My  God,  My  God,  why  hast  Thou  forsaken  Me!"  (5).  "I 
thirst."  (6).  "  It  is  consummated."  (7).  "  Father,  into  Thy  hands 
I  commend  My  spirit."  The  great  cry  which  Christ  gave  before  His 
death  was  a  sign  that  He  gave  up  His  life  of  His  own  free  will,  and 
that  He  had  strength  enough  to  go  on  living.  The  cross,  as  St. 
Augustine  says,  is  no  longer  the  instrument  of  Christ  suffering,  but 
the  pulpit  of  Christ  preaching ;  from  it  He  teaches  the  lessons  of  love 
of  our  enemies,  gentleness,  patience,  obedience,  God's  mercy,  goodness, 
justice  and  power,  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  the  Last  Judgment 
and  the  resurrection.  In  many  churches  it  is  the  custom  to  toll  the 
bells  at  three  o'clock  on  Fridays  in  memory  of  Christ's  death;  and 

188  .      Faith. 

since  Christ  crucified  His  flesh  for  our  sins  on  that  day  the  Church 
has  forbidden  the  eating  of  flesh  meat.  On  Friday  of  Holy  Week  the 
Church  is  in  mourning :  the  altars  are  stripped,  the  lights  put  out,  and 
the  bells  silenced,  and  the  sacred  ministers  in  their  black  vestments 
lie  prostrate  at  the  foot  of  the  altar.  The  celebrant  prays  for  all 
conditions  of  men,  even  for  heathens  and  Jews,  since  Christ  died  on 
this  day  for  all  men.  The  crucifix  is  unveiled.  Then  the  celebrant 
lays  it  on  the  ground  and  kisses  the  feet  of  the  image,  and  the  people 
come  up  in  turn  to  offer  the  same  homage.  On  Good  Friday  there  is 
no  Mass,  properly  so  called,  but  the  ceremonies  are  gone  through  with 
a  Host  consecrated  for  the  purpose  on  the  preceding  day.  An  altar 
of  repose  (or  sepulchre)  is  chosen  in  the  church  where  the  Host  is 
kept  in  the  interval. 

In  the  evening  Our  Lord's  body  was  taken  down  from  the 
cross  and  laid  in  the  grave  which  belonged  to  Joseph  of  Arima- 

4.  During  Easter  Saturday,  that  is,  on  the  greatest  feast  day 
of  the  Jews,  Our  Lord  remained  in  the  sepulchre. 

On  Holy  Saturday  fire  is  struck  from  a  flint,  and  blessed  outside 
the  church  doors,  and  from  this  fire  the  triple  candle,  the  paschal 
candle,  and  the  sanctuary  lamp  are  lit.  Each  branch  of  the  triple 
candle  is  lit  separately,  one  at  the  door,  another  in  the  middle  of  the 
church,  and  the  third  in  front  of  the  high  altar,  to  represent  the 
gradual  development  of  the  knowledge  of  the  Blessed  Trinity.  The 
paschal  candle  is  also  blessed  on  this  day,  and  the  five  grains  of  in 
cense  imbedded  in  it  remind  us  of  the  wounds  of  Christ.  The  baptis 
mal  font  is  also  blessed,  a  relic  of  the  times  when  the  catechumens 
used  to  be  solemnly  baptized,  and  solemn  High  Mass  follows. 

The  Exaltation  of  Christ. 

Christ  humbled  Himself,  "  becoming  obedient  unto  death,  even 
the  death  of  the  cross.  For  which  cause  God  also  hath  exalted  Him  " 
(Phil.  ii.  8,  9).  As  St.  John  Chrysostom  warns  us:  "  The  exaltation 
of  Christ  referred  only  to  His  humanity.  As  God  He  possessed  all 
earthly  happiness  and  needed  no  further  exaltation."  And  St.  Cyp 
rian  confirms  him  when  he  says  that  it  was  not  the  Almighty  but  the 
humanity  of  the  Almighty  which  was  exalted. 

1.  Immediately  after  the  death  of  Christ  His  soul  went  down 
in  triumph  into  the  place  where  the  souls  of  those  justified  under 
the  Old  Law  were  detained  (Fourth  Council  of  Lateran). 

This  place  is  called  limbo,  and  is  quite  distinct  from  purgatory, 
though  the  two  places  had  this  feature  in  common,  that  in  neither 
place  is  there  the  vision  of  God ;  for  while  there  is  pain  to  be  suffered 
in  purgatory,  there  was  none  in  limbo ;  nor  was  limbo  the  same  as  hell, 
where  the  pains  are  eternal;  on  the  contrary  the  souls  in  limbo  had 
some  consolation  (Luke  xvi.  25),  though  entrance  to  heaven  was  de 
ferred  (Heb.  ix.  8)  ;  hence  they  longed  for  the  coming  of  the  Saviour 
to  open  to  them  the  gates  of  heaven.  Limbo  is  called  in  Scripture 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  189 

the  "bosom  of  Abraham"  (Luke  xvi.  22);  the  "prison"  (1  Pet.  iii. 
19).  Our  Lord  called  the  place  "paradise"  (Luke  xxiii.  43),  because 
by  His  arrival  the  prison-house  would  be  turned  into  paradise.  After 
the  death  of  Christ  limbo  ceased  to  exist.  There  were  in  that  place 
among  others,  Adam  and  Eve,  Abel,  ISToe,  Abraham,  Isaac,  Jacob, 
Joseph,  David,  Isaias,  Daniel,  Job,  Tobias,  the  foster-father  of 
Christ,  and  many  others,  including  those  of  Noe's  contemporaries 
who  had  done  penance  and  repented  at  the  Flood  (1  Pet.  iii.  20). 

Christ  went  down  into  limbo  to  announce  to  the  souls  de 
tained  there  the  news  of  the  redemption,  and  to  set  them  free. 

Christ  went  down  to  announce  to  the  souls  in  limbo  that  He  had 
accomplished  the  redemption  (1  Pet,  iii.  19).  St.  Epiphanius  tells  us 
that  the  soul  of  Christ,  united  with  the  Godhead,  went  down  into 
limbo,  and  St.  Irenreus  says  that  the  Lord  spent  three  days  there. 
According  to  St.  Ignatius  of  Antioch,  Our  Lord  returned  with  a 
large  company  of  souls.  "  He  went,"  says  St.  Cyprian,  "  like  a  great 
king  who  delivers  his  subjects  from  a  prison  where  they  have  been 
kept  in  durance."  Christ  revealed  Himself  also  to  the  souls  in  hell, 
and  they  were  compelled  to  bow  the  knee  to  Him  (Phil.  ii.  10). 

2.  On  Easter  Sunday  before  sunrise  Christ  rose  glorious  from 
the  tomb  by  His  own  almighty  power. 

Christ  often  foretold  that  He  would  rise  again  on  "  the  third  day  " 
(Luke  xviii.  33)  ;  He  compared  Himself  to  Jonas  (Matt.  xii.  40)  ; 
on  the  occasion  of  His  driving  the  money-sellers  out  of  the  Temple. 
He  said  of  His  own  body:  "  Destroy  this  temple  and  in  three  days  I 
will  raise  it  up  "  (John  ii.  19)  ;  He  claimed  the  power  of  laying  down 
His  life  and  taking  it  up  again  (John  x.  18).  When  it  is  said  in 
Holy  Scripture  that  the  Father  raised  Him  (Rom.  vi.  4;  viii.  11),  it 
is  meant  that  as  Christ  is  one  with  the  Father  all  that  Christ  does 
the  Father  does  also.  The  resurrection  is  a  most  undoubted  fact. 
The  Jews  asserted  that  the  disciples  had  stolen  the  body  of  Christ 
(Matt,  xxviii.  13).  Such  an  act  was  far  beyond  their  power.  The 
great  stone  that  covered  the  sepulchre  could  not  have  been  moved 
without  waking  some,  at  least,  of  the  guards ;  "  besides,"  as  St. 
Augustine  says,  "  these  could  not  be  accepted  as  witnesses  if  they 
were  asleep;"  and  it  is  a  remarkable  circumstance  that  the  soldiers 
were  not  punished  for  their  breach  of  duty.  Many  free-thinkers 
urge  that  Christ  was  dead  only  in  appearance,  and  after  an  interval 
recovered  from  His  swoon  and  left  the  grave.  The  pain  and  loss  of 
blood  following  on  the  scourging  and  crowning  with  thorns  would 
have  been  enough  to  cause  death,  and  the  wound  in  the  side  alone, 
so  great  that  St.  Thomas  could  thrust  in  his  hand,  would  have  been 
fatal.  Even  when  Christ  was  going  to  the  place  of  execution,  He  was 
too  weak  to  carry  His  cross;  how  could  He,  after  thirty-six  hours  in 
the  tomb,  remove  the  long  wrappings  of  His  grave-clothes,  roll  away 
the  stone,  and  make  His  way  out  on  feet  yet  fresh  from  the 
wounds  of  the  nails  ?  The  death  of  Christ  was  officially  verified  and 
reported  to  Pilate  (Mark  xv.  45),  and  His  bones  were  not  broken  by 
the  soldiers  because  they  saw  that  He  was  dead  (John  xix.  33).  The 
blood  and  water  which  flowed  from  the  side  of  Christ  after  the  pierc- 

190  Faith. 

ing  with  the  lance,  were  a  sign  of  death  (iJohn  xix.  34).  His  holy 
Mother  and  His  friends  would  never  have  placed  Him  in  the  tomb 
unless  He  had  been  dead.  All  the  Evangelists  agree  in  testifying 
to  the  death  of  Christ, 

The  risen  Lord  bore  in  His  body  the  five  wounds,  and  it  had 
the  properties  of  agility,  subtility,  clarity  and  impassibility. 

Christ  retained  the  five  wounds,  for  He  ordered  the  unbelieving 
apostle  to  place  his  finger  in  the  wounds  of  me  nails,  and  his  hand  in 
the  wound  of  the  side  (John  xx.  27).  Our  Lord  would  keep  the  marks 
of  the  wounds  in  heaven  to  show  us  that  He  would  not  forget  us, 
bearing  in  His  hands,  as  St.  Bernard  says,  the  writ  of  our  redemption 
written  in  His  own  blood ;  and  St.  Ambrose  adds,  that  Our  Lord  bore 
these  wounds  to  be  a  perpetual  reminder  to  His  heavenly  Father 
of  the  price  of  our  redemption,  to  renew  the  sacrifice  of  the  cross 
forever  in  heaven  (Heb.  viii.  1-6). 

Christ  rose  again  to  prove  to  us  that  He  is  God,  and  that  we, 
too,  are  to  rise  again. 

Christ  is  the  first-fruits  of  them  that  sleep  (1  Cor.  xv.  20),  and  as 
Christ,  our  Head  arose,  so  shall  we  all  rise  again  (St.  Irenaus). 
He  called  first  His  own  body  to  life;  later  He  will  call  the  members 
of  His  mystical  body  to  share  its  life  (St.  Athanasius).  The  hope 
of  the  resurrection  was  Job's  consolation  in  his  trouble  (Job  xix.  25). 
Throughout  Christendom  Easter  is  celebrated  as  the  feast  of  the 
resurrection.  In  the  Old  Testament  the  Paschal  Sabbath  was  kept 
in  remembrance  of  the  delivery  from  the  Egyptian  yoke.  Among 
Christians,  in  accordance  with  a  decision  of  the  Council  of  Nicaea, 
325  A.D.,  the  feast  is  celebrated  on  the  first  Sunday  after  the  full 
moon  which  comes  next  after  the  spring  equinox.  In  consequence 
Easter  may  fall  anywhere  between  the  twenty-second  of  March  and 
the  twenty-fifth  of  April.  The  heathen  wakes  to  a  new  spiritual  life 
in  the  waters  of  baptism;  hence  the  blessing  of  the  font  on  Holy 
Saturday;  and  all  those  wrho  perform  their  Easter  duties  have  a 
spiritual  resurrection  from  the  dead  (Rom.  vi.  4).  In  the  words  of 
St.  Ambrose,  if  we  are  to  rise  from  the  grave  of  the  flesh  we  must  first 
rise  from  the  grave  of  our  sins.  The  Paschal  candle,  which  is  blessed 
on  Holy  Saturday  is,  on  account  of  its  five  incense  grains,  which  rep 
resent  the  five  wounds,  a  figure  of  Our  Lord ;  and  it  is  lighted  at  all 
services  till  Ascension  Thursday.  The  Easter  eggs  are  a  type  of  the 
resurrection:  just  as  the  young  bird  breaks  from  the  shell,  so  will 
mankind  arise  again  from  the  earth.  The  season  itself  is  typical  of 
the  new  life  in  the  reawakening  of  nature. 

The  risen  Lord  remained  forty  days  on  earth,  and  appeared 
frequently  during  this  time  to  His  disciples. 

St.  Ambrose  tells  us  that  Christ  appeared  first  to  His  holy  Mother. 
St.  Peter  was  the  first  of  the  apostles  to  see  the  risen  Lord  (Luke 
xxiv.  34).  Early  in  the  morning  of  Easter  Sunday  Christ  appeared 
to  Mary  Magdalen  by  the  sepulchre  (Mark  xvi.  9;  John  xx.  15), 
and  then  to  the  holy  women  as  they  were  leaving  the  grave  (Matt, 
xxviii.  9) ;  in  the  evening  He  appeared  to  the  two  disciples  who  were 

The  Apostles'  Creed,  191 

going  to  Emmaus  (Luke  xxiv.),  and  immediately  after  to  the  assem 
bled  disciples  in  the  cenacle.  He  ate  fish  and  honey  in  their  presence, 
and  afterwards  gave  them  the  power  of  forgiving  sins  (John  xx.). 
On  the  following  Sunday  He  appeared  again  in  the  same  house  and 
reproved  Thomas  for  his  want  of  faith  (John  xx.).  He  again  ap 
peared  to  seven  of  the  disciples  on  the  lake  of  Genesareth  and  gave 
St.  Peter  authority  over  the  apostles  and  the  faithful,  telling  him  at 
the  same  time  what  death  he  should  die  (John  xxi.).  A  more  solemn 
occasion  was  the  appearance  to  five  hundred  disciples  on  a  mountain 
in  Galilee,  when  He  gave  them  the  command  to  go  forth  into  the 
world,  teaching  and  baptizing  (Matt,  xxviii.  16).  He  spent  there 
forty  days  in  speaking  to  the  disciples  of  the  kingdom  of  God  (Acts 
i.  3).  The  last  appearance  wras  on  the  occasion  of  His  ascent  into 
heaven.  He  appeared  not  in  the  night,  but  in  the  full  light  of  day, 
not  once  only  but  repeatedly,  not  in  some  one  place  but  in  many 
places;  nor  were  they  instantaneous  apparitions,  but  He  remained 
some  time,  and  spoke  with  His  apostles.  The  resurrection  was  a  point 
on  which  the  apostles  testified  in  person.  They  gave  no  credit  to  the 
women  \vho  came  from  the  grave  with  their  account  of  the  angel 
(Luke  xxiv.  11).  They  doubted  the  evidence  of  their  own  senses  when 
Christ  Himself  appeared  to  them;  then  it  was  that  He  showed  them 
His  wounds,  and  allowed  them  to  touch  Him,  and  ate  in  their  pres 
ence  (Luke  xxiv.  42).  Thomas  refused  to  believe  the  ten  apostles 
(John  xx.  25),  and  this  unbelief  of  St.  Thomas  is  a  greater  help  to 
our  faith,  to  use  the  words  of  St.  Gregory  the  Great,  than  the  belief 
of  all  the  rest.  There  was  nothing  of  which  the  apostles  had  a 
stronger  conviction  than  of  the  reality  of  the  resurrection,  and  this 
they  preached  on  the  feast  of  Pentecost,  before  the  Council,  in  the 
Temple,  etc. 

3.  Forty  days  after  His  resurrection  Our  Lord  ascended  into 
heaven  from  the  Mount  of  Olives,  and  now  sits  at  the  right  hand 
of  God  the  Father. 

Before  ascending  Christ  raised  His  hands  and  blessed  His  apos 
tles,  enjoining  o'n  them  to  preach  the  Gospel  to  all  nations,  and 
promising  to  be  with  them  all  days,  till  the  end  of  the  world  (Matt, 
xxviii.  18;  Luke  xxiv.  50).  After  the  ascent  two  angels  appeared  and 
consoled  the  apostles  (Acts  i.  10).  St.  Jerome  tells  us  that  the  im 
press  of  Christ's  sacred  feet  used  to  be  shown  to  pilgrims;  there  re 
mains  now  only  the  trace  of  the  left  foot,  that  of  the  right  having 
been  removed  by  the  Turks.  It  is  remarkable  that  from  the  direction 
of  this  footprint  Our  Lord  must  have  been  facing  Europe  as  He 
mounted  into  heaven,  just  as  He  faced  it  during  the  crucifixion. 
Christ  made  His  ascent  from  the  Mount  of  Olives,  where  He  began 
His  Passion,  to  show  us  that  the  road  to  heaven  must  be  through  suf 
fering.  He  ascended  into  heaven  by  His  own  power,  not  like  Elias 
borne  on  a  chariot  (4  Kings  ii.  11),  or  like  Habacuc  carried  by  an 
ansrel  (Dan.  xiv.  36).  His  escort  into  heaven  was  formed  of  the  souls 
released  from  limbo  (Eph.  iv.  8).  The  Fathers  are  of  one  mind  in 
teaching  that  Christ  has  never  descended  in  the  flesh  from  heaven 
since  then,  except  during  holy  Mass.  Forty  days  after  Easter  the 
feast  of  Ascension  Thursday  is  kept,  preceded  by  the  three  Rogation 

192  Faith. 

days  with  their  processions,  symbolic  of  the  going  out  of   Christ 
with  His  apostles  to  the  Mount  of  Olives. 

Christ  ascended  into  heaven  in  order,  as  man,  to  enter  into 
His  kingdom  (Eph.  iv.  10),  to  send  down  the  Holy  Spirit  (John 
xvi.  7),  to  intercede  for  us  with  the  Father  (JVm  xiv.  16),  to 
prepare  a  place  for  us  there  (John  xiv.  2). 

Christ  is  the  mediator  between  God  and  man  (1  Tim.  ii.  5),  and 
our  advocate  with  the  Father  (1  John  ii.  1).  "If,"  says  St.  Bernard, 
"  you  fear  to  go  to  God  the  Father,  turn  to  Jesus  Christ,  Who  has 
been  given  to  us  as  a  mediator.  What  can  such  a  Father  refuse  to 
such  a  Son  ? "  Christ  is  often  likened  to  the  sun,  which  sheds  its 
light  and  warmth  the  higher  it  rises  in  the  heavens. 

Christ  sits  on  the  right  hand  of  God,  that  is,  as  man  He 
has  power  over  all  creatures. 

To  sit  on  the  right  hand  was  a  mark  of  special  honor  (3  Kings  ii. 
19)  ;  hence  the  expression  "  Christ  sits  on  the  right  hand  of  God  "  is 
equivalent  to :  "  Christ  is  next  in  honor  to  God."  He  is  therefore 
above  all  the  angels  (Eph.  i.  21).  God  the  Father  has  no  body;  so 
that  when  we  speak  of  the  right  hand  of  God,  we  mean,  as  St.  John 
Damascene  tells  us,  the  glory  of  His  Godhead,  of  which  Christ  took 
possession  in  the  flesh.  The  expression,  "  sits,"  is  significant  of  His 
royal  and  judicial  powers.  The  words  of  Christ  Himself  were :  "  All 
power  is  given  to  Me  in  heaven  and  on  earth"  (Matt,  xxviii.  18). 
Hence  all  creatures  owe  Him  divine  homage  (Phil.  ii.  9-11). 

4.  On  the  tenth  day  after  His  ascending  into  heaven  Christ 
sent  down  the  Holy  Ghost  on  the  apostles. 

The  Holy  Ghost  descended  on  a  Sunday,  about  nine  o'clock  in 
the  morning  (Acts  ii.  15).  The  signs  accompanying  His  descent  were 
symbolical  of  His  action;  the  rush  of  wind  represented  the  strength 
ening  of  the  will,  the  fire  the  illumination  of  the  understanding,  the 
tongues  the  gift  of  tongues  to  the  apostles  and  the  teaching  of  the 
Gospel  to  all  nations.  Pentecost  is  the  day  of  foundation  of  the 
Church,  because  it  began  on  that  day  by  the  baptism  of  three  thou 
sand  new  members.  Pentecost  is  celebrated  fifty  days  after  Easter — 
Pentecost  meaning  fifty.  In  the  Old  Law  this  day  was  celebrated 
fifty  days  after  the  Exodus,  in  memory  of  the  promulgation  of  the 
commandments  on  Mount  Sinai.  On  Mount  Sion  as  on  Mount  Sinai 
was  God's  will  declared  amid  lightning  and  thunder,  and  in  both 
cases  fifty  days  after  the  release  in  one  instance  from  bodily,  in 
the  other  from  spiritual  slavery.  It  is  the  custom  to  bless  the  font 
in  memory  of  the  three  thousand  who  were  baptized  on  this  day. 
The  Saturday  preceding  was  always  observed  as  a  fast  day,  that 
like  the  apostles  we  might  prepare  for  the  coming  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 
The  Sunday  following  Whitsunday  is  Trinity  Sunday,  and  on  the 
Thursday  following  is  kept  the  feast  of  Corpus  Christi. 

At  the  end  of  the  world  Christ  will  come  again  to  judge  all 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  193 


Jesus  Christ,  Our  Redeemer,  is  the  Son  of  God  made  man; 
hence  He  is  God  Himself. 

The  Incarnation  of  the  8 on  of  God. 

The  heathen  had  very  early  conceived  the  idea  that  God  had 
descended  from  heaven  and  mixed  with  men;  the  Greek  mythology 
is  full  of  it.  Now  God  has  actually  come  down  to  earth  (John  iii.  13) 
at  the  moment  of  the  Annunciation  (Luke  i.  26-38). 

1.  The  second  divine  person  became  man  in  the  womb  of  the 
Blessed  Virgin  Mary  by  the  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost  at  the 
moment  of  the  Annunciation. 

Louis  of  Granada  writes :  "  Just  as  the  sun  must  be  wrapped  in 
clouds  if  we  are  to  gaze  upon  it  with  eyes  undimmed,  so  God  wrapped 
Himself  in  flesh  as  in  a  cloud,  so  that  the  eyes  of  our  soul  might 
bear  to  look  upon  Him."  Human  thought  must  be  clothed  in  words 
to  reach  our  ears ;  so  God  clothed  Himself  in  human  nature  to  reach 
the  souls  of  men.  "  The  Word  [i.e.,  the  Son  of  God]  was  made  flesh 
[i.e.,  became  man]  and  dwelt  amongst  us"  (John  i.  14).  The  In 
carnation  took  place  in  the  instant  when  Our  Lady  uttered  the  words : 
"Be  it  done  unto  me  according  to  thy  word"  (Luke  i.  38).  They 
err  who  think  that  the  human  nature  was  first  formed  and  afterwards 
united  to  the  divine  person,  just  as  the  Valentinians  were  wrong  in 
asserting  that  Christ  brought  His  human  body  from  heaven.  Christ 
received  His  body  from  the  Virgin  Mary.  He  was  made  from  a 
woman  (Gal.  iv.  4),  and  was  of  the  seed  of  David  (Rom.  i.  3).  The 
Son  of  man  came  down  from  heaven,  it  is  true  (John  iii.  13),  in  re 
gard  of  the  divine  person,  but  not  in  regard  of  His  human  nature; 
we  must  not,  however,  imagine  that  the  divine  essence  came  down 
from  heaven  and  united  itself  to  the  human  nature ;  this  would  mean 
that  all  three  persons  of  the  Blessed  Trinity  has  assumed  our  human 
nature.  Such  a  thing  is  impossible,  for  such  a  union  would  require 
a  change  in  the  divine  essence,  which  is  incapable  of  change.  Only 
one  of  the  divine  persons,  the  Son  of  God,  assumed  our  human 
nature.  God  (i.e.,  a  divine  person)  not  the  Godhead  (i.e.,  the  divine 
essence)  became  man.  There  is,  however,  an  intimate  union  be 
tween  the  nature  of  God  and  the  nature  of  man  in  the  person  of  the 
Son;  and  it  is  certain  that  all  the  divine  persons  had  their  share  in 
the  work  of  the  Incarnation,  for  in  the  work  which  God  does  outside 
Himself  all  three  persons  of  the  Trinity  have  their  share. 

The  Incarnation  is  in  a  peculiar  manner  the  work  of  the 
three  divine  persons. 

The  three  divine  persons  formed  a  human  soul  and  a  human 
body  and  united  to  them  the  Second  Person  of  the  Trinity.  As  St. 
Augustine  puts  it :  "  In  the  guitar  the  sound  seems  to  come  from 
tbe  strings  alone,  yet  three  elements  are  wanted,  the  human  hand, 
the  skill  ^of  the  player  and  then  the  string."  Or  as  St.  Fulgentiiis 
explains  it :  "  Body  and  soul  are  necessary  for  a  man  to  profit  by  his 

194  Faith. 

food,  yet  the  body  alone  receives  the  nourishment."  So  the  three  per 
sons  of  the  Trinity  co-operated  in  the  Incarnation,  but  the  Second 
Person  only  was  united  to  the  flesh.  The  Incarnation  is  ascribed  in  a 
special  manner  to  the  Holy  Ghost,  because  it  is  the  greatest  work  of 
God's  love.  The  Church  teaches  that  the  works  of  love  are  ascribed 
to  the  Holy  Ghost,  Who  is  the  love  of  the  Father  and  the  Son. 
According  to  the  Fathers  there  is  no  doubt  that  either  God  the 
Father  or  the  Holy  Ghost  might  have  become  man;  but  it  was  meet 
that  He  Who  is  the  Son  of  God  from  all  eternity  should  become  the 
Son  of  man ;  that  He  Who  is  the  perfect  image  of  God  should  restore 
to  mankind  that  supernatural  image  which  had  been  lost  by  sin. 

2.  The  Father  of  Jesus  is  therefore  God  the  Father  in  heaven; 
Joseph,  the  spouse  of  Mary,  is  only  the  foster-father  of  Jesus. 

St.  Gregory  the  Great  tells  us  that  Christ  is  the  Son  of  God,  not 
only  because  He  is  the  Second  Person  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  but  also 
because  God  formed  His  sacred  humanity.  In  the  first  promise  of  the 
Redeemer  as  we  read  it  in  the  Protevangelium  Christ  is  called,  not 
the  seed  of  man,  but  the  seed  of  the  woman  (Gen.  iii.  15),  and  in  the 
genealogy  of  Christ  recorded  by  St.  Matthew,  no  mention  is  made  of 
His  descent  from  Joseph,  but  only  from  Mary  (Matt.  i.  16).  Yet 
Christ  was  commonly  thought  to  be  the  Son  of  Joseph  (Luke  iii.  23). 
Mary  was  espoused  to  St.  Joseph  that  no  accusation  might  be  made 
against  her  by  the  world,  and  that  she  might  have  in  him  a  protectoi . 
About  St.  Joseph  we  have  the  following  facts:  He  was  a  carpenter 
(Matt.  xiii.  55);  he  was  a  just  man  (Matt.  i.  19).  St.  Jerome  tells 
us  he  was  perfect  in  every  virtue,  and  St.  Thomas  Aquinas  gives  as 
the  reason  for  his  holiness  that  he  was  so  close  to  the  fount  of  holi 
ness,  just  as  the  spring  is  clearer  as  we  approach  its  source.  St. 
Francis  of  Sales  tells  us  that  St.  Joseph  was  conspicuous  for  his 
purity,  and  therein  surpassed  all  the  saints  and  even  the  angels. 
To  him  was  granted  the  honor  which  kings  and  prophets  sighed 
for  in  vain;  he  might  take  his  Lord  into  his  arms,  kiss  Him,  speak 
with  Him,  clothe  Him,  protect  Him  (St.  Bernard).  He  was  called 
father  by  Him  Whose  Father  was  in  heaven  (St.  Basil).  Many  saints 
assert  that  St.  Joseph  has  a  very  high  place  in  heaven  as  the  spouse 
of  the  Blessed  Virgin,  and  that  he  will  be  called  upon  by  men  in  the 
last  days  of  the  world  and  give  signs  of  his  great  power.  St.  Joseph 
is  the  patron  of  the  Church  (Pius  IX.,  Dec.  8,  1870) ;  i.e.,  his  prayers 
for  the  Church  have  great  efficacy  at  the  throne  of  God.  He  is  also 
the  patron  of  a  happy  death,  dying  as  he  did  himself  in  the  arms  of 
Jesus  and  Mary.  He  is  also  invoked  for  temporal  wants,  since  his 
care  on  this  earth  was  the  support  of  the  Holy  Family.  St.  Thomas 
Aquinas  says  that  St.  Joseph  received  power  from  God  to  help  in 
all  necessities;  and  St.  Teresa  declared  that  no  prayer  of  hers  to 
St.  Joseph  in  temporal  or  spiritual  need  was  ever  left  unanswered. 
The  Catholic  Church  has  always  honored  St.  Joseph  in  a  special  man 
ner,  after  Our  Lady  and  above  the  other  saints. 

3.  The  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God  is  a  mystery  which  we 
cannot  understand,  but  only  admire  and  honor. 

The  conception  and  Incarnation  are  as  little  understood  by  us 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  195 

as  the  flowering  of  the  rod  of  Aaron  (Numb.  xvii.).  "  Shut  thy  eyes, 
0  Reason,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "  for  under  the  veil  of  faith  thou  canst 
see  the  sheen  of  this  mystery,  just  as  the  eye  of  the  body  can  bear 
the  light  of  the  sun  when  shaded  by  a  cloud."  "  I  know  that  the  Son 
of  God  became  man,  but  how  I  do  not  know  "  (St.  John  Chrysostom). 
The  following  are  illustrations  which  have  been  used  to  convey  the 
idea  of  the  union  of  the  Godhead  and  the  human  nature  in  Christ: 
The  divinity  and  the  humanity  are  united  in  Christ  as  body  and  soul 
are  united  in  man  (Athanasian  Creed).  If  spirit  and  matter,  so 
essentially  distinct,  are  united  in  man,  all  the  less  matter  of  surprise 
is  it  that  the  divinity  and  humanity,  which  after  all  have  their  points 
of  resemblance,  are  found  united  in  Christ.  "  Speech  is  a  sort  of 
incarnation,"  says  St.  Augustine.  "  At  first  the  word  is  conceived  as 
a  mere  thought,  something  purely  spiritual.  If  that  thought  is  to  be 
conveyed  to  another,  it  is  put  in  words ;  yet,  though  it  appeals  to  the 
senses,  it  is  none  the  less  produced  from  the  soul.  So  the  Word  of 
God  has  appeared  to  many  and  ceases  not  to  remain  with  the  Father." 
Other  illustrations  to  show  the  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost  in  Christ's 
conception :  St.  Isidore  tells  us  that  Christ  was  formed  from  Mary 
just  as  Eve  was  formed  from  Adam.  The  Incarnation  resembles  in 
some  respects  the  creation,  when  everything  was  produced  by  God's 
almighty  power  without  co-operation  of  man. 

The  mystery  of  the  Incarnation  is  commemorated  by  the 
ringing  of  the  Angelus  bell. 

The  words  of  the  Angelus  recall  in  the  most  lively  way  the  scene 
of  the  Annunciation.  At  the  words  in  the  Credo  of  the  Mass :  "  He 
took  flesh  in  the  womb  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  by  the  Holy  Ghost" 
the  celebrant  always  kneels,  also  at  the  words  in  the  Last  Gospel: 
"  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh."  On  Christmas  Day  and  the  Annun 
ciation  (the  twenty-fifth  of  March),  the  sacred  ministers  at  High 
Mass  kneel  on  the  altar  steps  and  bow  their  heads  at  the  "Et  incar- 
natus  est "  of  the  Credo.  The  angels  also  venerate  the  mystery  of 
the  Incarnation. 

4.  The  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God  was  necessary  to  give 
perfect  satisfaction  to  the  injured  majesty  of  God. 

God  might  have  chosen  some  other  means  for  redeeming  man. 
He  might,  by  special  exercise  of  His  goodness,  have  been  content 
with  an  imperfect  satisfaction,  or  have  remitted  the  guilt  without 
demanding  any  satisfaction  at  all.  St.  Augustine  on  this  subject 
writes :  "  There  are  some  foolish  people  who  think  that  God  could  not 
have  redeemed  mankind  otherwise  than  by  Himself  taking  flesh,  and 
suffering  at  the  hands  of  sinners.  He  might  have  followed  quite 
another  plan."  As  we  shall  see  in  treating  of  the  death  of  Christ 
God  wished  to  have  perfect  satisfaction,  to  display  His  justice  as  well 
as  His  mercy.  Perfect  satisfaction  could  be  given  only  by  a 'God- 
man.  The  greatness  of  an  injury  is  measured  by  the  dignity  of  the 
person  who  suffers ;  hence  the  offence  given  to  God  is  infinitely  great. 
~No  finite  being,  not  even  the  most  perfect  angel,  could  atone  for  an 
offence  against  God,  only  God  Himself.  "So  that,"  to  use  the  words 
of  St.  Anselm,  "  to  redeem  man  it  was  necessary  that  God  should  be- 

196  Faith. 

come  man."  As  God  only  He  could  not  suffer;  as  man  only  He  could 
not  redeem;  hence  the  Godhead  assumed  a  human  nature  (St.  Pro- 
clus).  If  a  valuable  portrait  be  damaged  beyond  recognition  it  can 
not  be  restored  unless  the  sitter  present  himself  to  the  artist;  thus 
God  had  to  come  down  on  earth  to  restore  His  likeness  in  man  (St. 

The  God-man  could  satisfy  perfectly  the  injured  majesty 
of  God  by  appearing  on  earth  in  a  state  of  lowliness. 

Had  He  appeared  in  His  majesty  men  would  never  have  dared 
to  crucify  Him  (1  Cor.  ii.  8).  Like  Codrus,  the  Athenian  king,  He 
secured  victory  to  His  own  by  dying  for  them.  The  oracle  had 
promised  the  Athenians  victory  if  their  king  died  by  the  hands  of 
the  enemy,  and  Codrus,  disguising  his  royal  dress,  marched  into  the 
enemy's  camp  and  was  by  them  put  to  death.  The  prophets  had 
foretold  that  mankind  should  be  saved  by  the  death  of  its  King, 
and  Christ,  taking  on  the  form  of  a  slave,  was  put  to  death.  The 
evil  spirits  fled  when  they  saw  Whom  they  had  killed.  "  If,"  as 
Louis  of  Granada  says,  "  a  king  would  prove  his  courage  in  battle, 
he  must  put  away  all  symbols  of  his  rank,  to  proclaim  them  only 
when  he  is  victor;"  and  this  is  what  Our  Lord  did.  He  will  come 
again  with  great  power  and  majesty  (Matt.  xxvi.  64).  St.  Thomas 
says  that  we  cannot  affirm  with  certainty  that  God  would  have  become 
man  had  man  not  sinned;  it  certainly  would  not  have  been  beyond 
His  power. 

5.  The  Second  Person  always  remained  God  though  He  be 
came  man,  and  by  the  Incarnation  He  lost  none  of  His  dignity. 

When  we  assert  that  the  Son  of  God  came  down  on  earth,  we  do 
not  mean  that  He  left  heaven.  So  a  star  may  become  visible  to  us 
without  leaving  the  firmament.  As  St.  Ambrose  says,  the  divinity  of 
Christ  is  not  destroyed,  but  only  hidden  by  His  human  nature,  just 
as  the  sun  is  not  put  out,  but  veiled  only  by  the  clouds.  And  as  the 
thought,  because  spoken,  does  not  cease  to  be  a  product  of  the  soul, 
so  the  Word  of  God  did  not  cease  to  be  with  the  Father  (St.  Augus 
tine).  As  a  word,  though  spoken  only  for  the  benefit  of  one  person 
may  be  heard  by  all  the  bystanders,  so  the  divine  Word  was  not  lim 
ited  by  the  body  which  He  assumed,  but  still  fills  heaven  and  earth. 
Moreover  God  lost  none  of  His  dignity  by  the  Incarnation.  The 
sunlight  which  plays  over  filth  is  not  defiled ;  still  less  is  the  Godhead 
defiled  by  taking  flesh  from  the  pure  womb  of  Mary  (St.  Odilo).  If 
a  prince  put  on  a  slave's  dress  and  in  it  picked  a  precious  ring  from 
the  gutter  to  place  it  on  his  finger,  there  is  no  loss  of  dignity ;  so,  too, 
the  Son  of  God  was  not  degraded  by  taking  on  Himself  the  form  of  a 
slave,  and  coming  down  on  earth  to  save  souls  and  gain  them  to  Him 
(Tert.).  When  the  Apostle  says  that  Jesus  Christ  debased  Himself 
by  taking  the  form  of  a  servant  (Phil.  ii.  7),  he  does  not  mean  that 
God  lost  anything,  but  only  that  He  assumed  a  nature  lower  than  His 
own,  and  gave  us  thereby  an  example  of  humility.  "  He  humbled 
Himself"  (Phil.  ii.  8). 

6.  By  the  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God  all  the  members  of 
the  human  race  have  acquired  a  special  dignity. 

The  Apostles'  Greed.  197 

The  human  nature  of  the  Son  of  God  is  like  the  yeast  which 
leavens  the  whole  mass  (Matt.  xiii.  33).  Christ  is  the  vine,  and  we 
are  the  branches  (John  xv.).  The  angels  even  fall  short  of  us  in  this 
respect,  for  though  they  are  exempt  from  sickness  and  death  they 
cannot  claim  God  for  their  Brother ;  were  they  capable  of  envy,  they 
would  envy  us  that  honor.  As  St.  Ambrose  says :  "  The  Almighty 
took  the  form,  of  a  slave  that  the  slave  might  become  a  king."  "  The 
Son  of  God  became  the  Son  of  man  that  the  children  of  men  might 
become  children  of  God"  (St.  Athanasius).  "  Oh,  what  a  wondrous 
redemption  is  that  where  man  is,  as  it  were,  put  on  a  par  with  God  !  " 
(St.  Hilary.) 

What  Truths  follow  from  the  Mystery  of  the  Redemption? 

1.  Christ  is  true  God  and  true  man;   hence  we  call  Him  the 

Every  being  gets  its  nature  whence  it  has  its  origin;  thus  a  child 
gets  its  human  nature  by  being  born  of  man.  Christ,  therefore, 
having  His  origin  from  God  the  Father,  derives  from  Him  His  divine 
nature,  and  by  being  born  of  Mary,  derives  from  her  His  human 
nature.  He  claimed  both  divine  and  human  attributes.  He  said, 
for  example,  "  The  Father  is  greater  than  I "  (John  xiv.  28),  and  yet 
on  another  occasion:  "  The  Father  and  I  are  one  "  (John  x.  30).  As 
God  He  calls  Mary  "  woman,"  as  on  the  occasion  of  the  wedding-feast 
at  Cana,  and  as  man  He  calls  her  "  Mother."  He  called  Himself  at 
times  "  Son  of  God  "  and  again  "  Son  of  man." 

Christ,  as  man,  is  like  to  us  in  all  things  except  sin  (Council 
of  Chalcedon). 

Christ  became  like  to  His  brethren  (Heb.  ii.  17) ;  He  was  made  in 
the  likeness  of  man  and  in  habit  formed  as  a  man  (Phil.  ii.  7).  Christ 
had  a  human  body,  with  all  its  consequent  needs  of  eating  and  drink 
ing  and  sleeping,  as  well  as  of  suffering  and  dying;  and  He  had  a 
real  body,  not  a  fictitious  one,  as  the  DocetaB  taught.  Christ  had  a 
human  soul,  and  so  a  human  intellect,  and  a  human  will  (for  He 
prayed  in  the  garden :  "  Father,  not  My  wiH,  but  Thine  be  done  " 
(Luke  xxii.  42).  At  His  death  Christ  gave  His  soul  into  the  hands 
of  His  heavenly  Father  (Luke  xxiii.  46).  St.  Paul  (1  Cor.  xv.  47) 
calls  Christ  the  "  heavenly  "  man,  in  opposition  to  the  "  earthly  "  man, 
Adam;  his  meaning  being  that  Christ's  body  was  heavenly  in  the 
sense  that  it  was  formed  supernaturally  in  the  womb  of  a  virgin  by 
the  action  of  the  Holy  Spirit  and  that  it  displayed  on  earth  some  of 
the  properties  of  glorified  bodies,  as  on  Mount  Thabor  and  the  walk 
ing  on  the  waters. 

2.  In  Christ  there  are  two  natures,  human  and  divine,  which 
despite  their  intimate  union  are  quite  distinct. 

The  nature  or  essence  is  the  total  of  the  powers  belonging  to  a 
being.  The  person  is  the  possessor  of  this  nature;  or  perhaps  more 
strictly,  that  which  is  common  to  all  men  is  the  nature  and  that  which 
constitutes  man  an  independent  individual  is  the  person.  Thus  the 

198  Faith. 

nature  may  embrace  many  individuals,  but  not  so  the  person.  Just 
as  iron  and  gold  may  be  welded  into  one  solid  mass,  and  still  remain 
with  all  their  individual  properties  distinct,  so  are  the  two  natures 
united  in  Christ.  Nor  is  the  human  nature  changed  into  the  divine 
nature,  as  the  water  was  changed  into  wine  at  Cana  ;  nor  again  is  the 
human  nature,  as  Eutyches  thought,  absorbed  into  the  Godhead  as  a 
drop  of  honey  might  be  lost  in  the  expanse  of  the  ocean;  nor  have 
the  two  natures  combined  to  form  a  third,  as  hydrogen  and  oxygen 
combine  to  form  water. 

Hence  Christ  has  a  twofold  knowledge,  human  and  divine. 

As  God  He  knew  all  things,  even  the  thoughts  of  men;  and  He 
also  knew  all  things  as  man  on  account  of  the  hypostatic  union;  the 
reason  why  He  denied  all  knowledge  of  the  day  and  hour  of  the  Last 
Judgment  was  because  He  was  not  intrusted  with  His  knowledge 
to  communicate  it  to  man  (Mark  xiii.  32). 

Hence  also  Christ  has  a  twofold  will,  human  and  divine,  the 
human  being  subject  to  the  divine  (Third  Council  Constant.). 

We  learn  from  the  prayer  in  the  garden  that  Christ  had  a  human 
will:  "  ISTot  My  will  but  Thine  be  done"  (Luke  xxii.  42),  subject  how 
ever  to  the  divine  will  :  "  I  seek  not  My  own  will  but  the  will  of  Him 
that  sent  Me"  (John  v.  30).  So  a  patient  may  shrink  from  the  pain 
of  an  operation,  and  yet  submit  himself  to  the  hands  of  the  surgeon. 

Thus  Christ  has  a  twofold  activity,  human  and  divine  (Third 
Council  Constantinople,  A.D.  680). 

To  His  divine  activity  belong  the  miracles  and  prophesies,  to 
the  human  principle  of  action  the  operations  of  sleeping,  eating, 
drinking  and  suffering.  The  three  persons  of  the  Blessed  Trinity 
have  only  one  nature  and  so  one  principle  of  action. 

3.  In  Christ  there  is  only  one  person,  and  that  person  is  divine. 

compares  this  with  the  two  eyes  forming  only  one 
image,  or  the  two  ears  conveying  one  sound.  Tn  the  words  of  the 
Athanasian  Creed  :  "  As  the  rational  soul  and  the  flesh  is  one  man, 
so  God  and  man  is  one  Christ."  The  human  nature  in  Christ,  though 
completed  by  a  divine  and  not  a  human  personality,  is  for  that  very 
reason  more  perfect  ;  just  as  in  man  the  body  is  more  perfect  on  ac 
count  of  being  informed  by  a  human  soul,  than  in  the  lower  animals. 
Moreover  as  in  man  the  body  is  an  instrument  by  which  the  soul  acts, 
so  in  Christ  the  human  nature  is  the  instrument  by  which  the  divine 
person  acts;  nor  is  Christ's  body  a  lifeless  tool,  like  a  pen  in  the  hand 
of  a  writer,  but  it  is  full  of  life  and  has  its  own  special  activity. 
The  humanity  of  Christ  is,  it  must  be  remembered,  not  an  instru 
ment  of  God's  action  in  the  same  way  as  were  the  prophets  or  the 
apostles,  etc.  Its  union  and  action  are  far  more  intimate,  just  as 
the  eye  and  the  hand  of  the  workman  are  more  concerned  in  his 
work  than  the  tools.  We  must  avoid  the  error  of  Nestorius,  con 
demned  at  the  Council  of  Ephesus,  in  which  he  taught  that  in  Christ 
the  Godhead  dwelt  in  a  distinct  person  (i.e.,  that  the  God  Christ 
dwelt  in  the  man  Christ)  as  in  a  temple. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  199 

Since  in  Christ  the  divine  and  human  natures  are  insepa 
rably  united  by  His  divine  personality,  the  following  proposi 
tions  are  true: 

1.  Christ  is,  as  man,  the  true  Son  of  God. 

St.  Paul's  words  on  the  subject  are :  "  He  spared  not  His  own  Son, 
but  delivered  Him  up  for  us  all"  (Rom.  viii.  32). 

2.  Mary,  the  Mother  of  Christ,  is  really  Mother  of  God. 

St.  Elizabeth  called  her  the  Mother  of  God  (Luke  i.  43).  Nes- 
torius'  heresy  that  Mary  should  be  called  only  the  Mother  of  Christ, 
was  condemned  at  the  Council  of  Ephesus  in  A.D.  431.  "  If,"  as  St. 
Cyril  says,  "  Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  God,  how  can  it  be  that  the 
holy  Virgin  who  bore  Him  is  not  Mother  of  God  ? "  Though  the 
mother  does  not  give  the  soul  to  her  offspring,  she  is  none  the  less 
called  the  mother;  so  Mary  is  called  the  Mother  of  God,  though  she 
did  not  give  to  Christ  His  divine  nature. 

3.  Christ,  as  man,  could  neither  sin  nor  err. 

Christ  did  no  sin  either  in  word  or  in  deed  (1  Pet.  ii.  22)  ;  or,  in  the 
words  of  St.  Gregory  the  Great :  "  As  light  permits  no  darkness  in  its 
neighborhood,  so  the  Son  of  God  admitted  no  sin  in  His  human 
nature."  Christ  had  from  His  birth  all  wisdom  and  knowledge  (Col. 
ii.  3).  The  words  "  Christ  grew  in  wisdom  and  grace"  (Luke  ii.  52), 
mean  that  with  the  passage  of  time  He  ever  showed  more  of  the  wis 
dom  and  grace  of  God  in  His  speech  and  conduct.  There  must  have 
been  in  His  person  something  majestic  (Ps.  xliv.  3) ;  St.  Jerome  says 
that  the  glory  and  majesty  of  the  Godhead  was  reflected  on  His  face, 
and  gave  it  a  beauty  which  attracted  and  subjected  all  those  who  had 
the  happiness  of  gazing  upon  Him. 

4.  All  Christ's  human  actions  have  an  infinite  value. 

What  Christ  did  as  man  was  a  human  action,  and  also  a  divine 
action,  inasmuch  as  He  was  God.  St.  John  Damascene  says :  "  Just 
as  iron  raised  to  a  glow  burns  not  because  burning  is  a  property  of  the 
iron  itself,  but  because  it  has  acquired  the  property  from  the  fire, 
so  the  human  actions  of  Christ  were  divine,  not  of  their  own  nature, 
but  on  account  of  the  intimate  union  with  the  Godhead."  The  very 
least  prayer  or  suffering  of  Christ  might  thus  have  redeemed  all  men. 

5.  Christ's  humanity  is  worthy  of  adoration. 

This  adoration  is  directed,  not  to  the  human  nature,  but  to  the 
divine  person.  Thus  a  child  kissing  the  hand  of  its  parent  is  paying 
homage  to  the  parent,  not  to  the  hand.  As  St.  Thomas  says :  "  We 
pay  honor  to  the  king  and  the  purple  which  he  wears;  so  in  Christ 
we  adore  the  humanity  along  with  the  Godhead,  since  they  are  insep 
arable."  St.  John  Damascene  points  out  that  we  do  not  adore  mere 
flesh,  but  the  flesh  as  united  to  the  divinity.  Thus  the  Church  adores 
the  five  wounds,  the  Sacred  Heart,  the  precious  blood,  etc. 

6.  Human  attributes  may  be  predicated  of  Christ  as  God, 

200  Faith. 

and  divine  attributes  of  Christ  as  man  (the  so-called  communi 
cation  of  characters  or  idioms). 

Hence  St.  Peter's  reproach :  "  The  Author  of  life  you  have  killed  " 
(Acts  iii.  15),  and  St.  Paul's  words:  "If  they  had  known  it  they 
would  never  have  crucified  the  Lord  of  glory"  (1  Cor.  ii.  8),  as  well 
as  St.  John's  "  Therein  do  we  know  the  love  of  God,  that  He  laid  down 
His  life  for  us."  Since  the  second  divine  person  and  the  man.  Christ 
Jesus  are  one  nnd  the  same  person,  whatever  is  said  of  Christ  as  God 
may  also  be  said  of  Him  as  man  (e.g.,  this  man  is  omniscient  or  al 
mighty),  and  what  we  say  of  Christ  as  man  may  be  said  of  the  second 
divine  person  (e.g.,  God  suffered  for  us,  died  for  us,  etc.).  When  a 
man  is  both  good  and  rich,  we  may  say  without  error :  "  This  rich 
man  is  good,"  or  "  This  good  man  is  rich,"  because  we  are  talking  of 
the  person  who  is  rich  and  good.  We  may  do  the  same  in  regard  of 
the  divine  person  Who  is  at  the  same  time  God  and  man,  and  in  con 
sequence  has  the  attributes  proper  to  God  and  man.  So  we  might 
say  "  This  sufferer  is  God,"  "  This  dying  man  is  almighty."  But  we 
cannot  say  "  The  Godhead  suffered  or  died,"  because  the  word  "  God 
head  "  means  the  divine  nature,  and  it  never  suffered.  Hence  St. 
John  Damascene  wrote :  "  Though  the  Godhead  was  in  a  suffering 
form,  the  Godhead  did  not  suffer.  The  sun  is  not  hurt,  though  the 
tree  on  which  it  shines  is  felled." 

Jesus  Christ  is  the  Son  of  God. 

Christ  called  Himself  the  only-begotten  Son  of  God  (John  iii.  16), 
and  this  because  He  and  He  alone  is  the  Second  Person  of  the  Trin 
ity,  begotten  of  the  Father.  In  addition  He  is  far  removed  above  the 
angels  and  mankind,  who  are  likewise  called  the  children  of  God. 
For  to  these  latter  God  has  not  communicated  His  own  nature  (Phil, 
ii.  6)  and  has  adopted  them  only  by  a  special  grace  (Gal.  iv.  5). 

1.  Jesus  Christ  solemnly  declared  before  the  high  priest  that 
He  was  the  Son  of  God  (Matt.  xxvi.  64). 

And  He  called  Himself  the  Son  of  God  also  on  the  occasion 
of  His  healing  of  the  man  born  blind  (John  ix.  37). 

2.  God  the  Father  called  Jesus  Christ  His  Son  on  the  occasion 
of  His  baptism  in  the  Jordan  and  of  the  transfiguration  on  Mount 
Thabor  (Matt.  iii.  17;   xvii.  5). 

3.  The  archangel  Gabriel  called  Jesus  Christ  the  "  Son  of 
the  Most  High  "  when  he  announced  His  birth  to  Mary  (Luke  i. 

4.  St.  Peter  also  publicly  addressed  Jesus  Christ  as  "  Son  of 
the  living  God/'  and  was  commended  by  Christ  for  this  confes 
sion  (Matt.  xvi.  16). 

5.  Even  the  devils  cried  out:    "  What  have  we  to  do  with 
Thee,  Jesus,  Son  of  God?     Art  Thou  come  hither  to  torment 
us  before  the  time?  "     (Matt.  viii.  29.) 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  201 

Jesus  Christ  is  God  Himself. 

It  had  already  been  foretold :  "  God  Himself  will  come  and  will 
save  you"  (Is.  xxxv.  4),  and  Isaias  said  that  the  Child  Who  was  to 
be  born  for  the  redemption  of  men  was  God  Himself  (Is.  ix.  6).  The 
heretic  Arms  denied  Christ's  Godhead;  his  heresy  was  condemned  at 
the  Council  of  Nica3a  in  A.D.  325,  and  it  was  expressly  denned  that 
Jesus  Christ  was  of  the  same  nature  as  God  and  therefore  Himself 
God.  Our  whole  position  rests  on  this  doctrine,  hence  its  great  im 
portance.  When  the  rich  disciple  addressed  Christ  as  "  good  master," 
Our  Lord  answered  at  once,  "  Why  dost  thou  call  Me  good  ?  None 
is  good  but  God  alone  "  (Luke  xviii.  19) ;  He  would  thereby  teach  U8 
that  we  must  before  all  things  recognize  Him  as  God. 

1.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  learn  from  His  own  words 
and  from  those  of  His  apostles. 

When  ascending  into  heaven  He  said :  "  All  power  is  given  to  Me 
in  heaven  and  on  earth  "  (Matt,  xxviii.  18) ;  and  again :  "  I  and  the 
Father  are  one"  (John  x.  30).  These  last  words  were  treated  by  the 
Jews  as  blasphemy,  and  they  threatened  to  stone  Our  Lord  for  them 
(John  x.  33).  Christ  claimed  in  a  special  manner  attributes  and 
works  such  as  belong  to  God  alone.  He  proclaimed  His  eternity  when 
He  said :  "  Glorify  Thou  Me,  O  Father,  with  Thyself  with  the  glory 
which  I  had  before  the  world  was,  with  Thee"  (John  xvii.  5).  And 
again:  "Before  Abraham  was,  I  am"  (John  viii.  58).  He  claimed 
the  power  of  forgiving  sins  as  in  the  case  of  Magdalen  (Luke  vii. 
48),  and  the  man  sick  of  the  palsy  (Matt.  ix.  2).  He  laid  claim  to 
awaken  the  dead  (John  v.  28), to  judge  the  world  (Matt.xxv.  31), to  be 
the  Author  of  life  (John  xi.  25).  On  another  occasion  He  said:  "  If 
any  man  keep  My  word,  he  shall  not  see  death  forever"  (John  viii. 
51).  The  apostles  believed  and  solemnly  proclaimed  that  Christ  was 
God,  St.  Thomas  for  instance,  in  the  words :  "  My  Lord  and  my 
God  !  "  In  St.  Paul's  epistles  we  read :  "  In  Christ  dwelleth  all  the 
fulness  of  the  Godhead  corporally"  (Col.  ii.  9),  and  "In  Him  were 
created  all  things  .  .  .  and  He  is  before  all,  and  by  .Him  all  things 
consist"  (Col.  i.  16,  17). 

2.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  conclude  from  His  miracles 
and  prophecies. 

The  numerous  miracles  which  Christ  wrought  in  His  own 
name  testify  to  His  almighty  power. 

The  miracles  may  be  divided  into  five  classes.  (1).  Those  per 
formed  on  inanimate  substances,  such  as  the  changing  of  the  water 
into  wine,  the  calming  of  the  storm,  etc.  (2).  The  healing  of  the 
sick,  the  blind,  and  the  lame  (Matt.  xi.  3-5).  (3).  The  raising  of 
the  dead  to  life,  for  example,  in  the  case  of  the  daughter  of  Jairus, 
of  the  son  of  the  widow  of  Nairn,  of  Lazarus.  (4).  The  expelling 
of  devils  from  possessed  persons.  (5).  The  miracles  on  His  own 
person,  as  the  transfiguration  and  the  ascension.  Moreover  Christ 
proved  that  He  had  power  over  all  creation  as  no  other  had.  Others 
did  miracles  in  the  name  of  God,  as,  for  example,  when  St.  Peter 

202  Faith. 

and  St.  John  cured  the  man  at  the  gate  of  the  Temple.  Christ  did 
not  appeal  in  God's  name.  He  said  simply :  "  Young  man,  I  say  to 
thee,  arise !  "  (Luke  vii.  14.)  "  I  will.  Be  thou  made  clean  "  (Matt, 
viii.  3)  ;  "  Peace,  be  still."  Benedict  XIV.  is  careful  to  tell  us  that  if 
Christ  prayed  to  the  Father  it  was  to  dispel  the  notion  that  His 
miracles  were  from  the  devil.  The  miracles  attributed  to  the  found 
ers  of  false  religions  are  often  very  absurd  and  childish;  that  Buddha 
rode  on  a  sunbeam,  that  Mohammed  caused  the  moon  to  pass  through 
his  sleeve,  that  Apollonius  of  Tyana  raised  a  storm  in  a  barrel,  etc. 
So  different  from  the  majesty  displayed  by  Christ ! 

The  prophecies  of  Christ  with  respect  to  His  own  fate,  the 
treachery  of  Judas,  and  the  denial  of  St.  Peter,  the  death  of  St. 
John  and  St.  Peter,  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  the  fate  of 
the  Jews,  and  the  career  of  the  Church,  all  show  His  om 

Christ  foretold  that  He  would  be  put  to  death  in  Jerusalem  (Luke 
xiii.  32),  that  He  would  be  scourged  and  crucified,  and  would  rise 
again  after  three  days  (Matt.  xx.  17-19).  At  the  Last  Supper  He 
foretold  the  treachery  of  Judas  (John  xiii.  26),  and  that  Peter  would 
deny  Him  thrice  before  the  cock  would  crow  (Matt.  xxvi.  34).  After 
His  resurrection  He  prophesied  to  Peter  his  death  on  the  cross,  and 
to  John  that  he  should  die  a  natural  death  (John  xxi.  18-22).  After 
His  triumphal  entry  into  Jerusalem  (Luke  xix.  41,  44),  and  during 
His  discourse  on  the  Last  Judgment  on  the  Mount  of  Olives  (Matt, 
xxiv.)  He  foretold  how  Jerusalem  should  be  surrounded  by  her  ene 
mies  and  destroyed.  He  also  knew  that  the  Jews  should  be  scattered 
among  the  nations  (Luke  xxi.  24),  that  His  Church  should  spread 
rapidly  among  the  nations  of  the  earth  (John  x.  16;  Matt.  xiii.  31) 
in  spite  of  the  persecution  of  His  apostles  (John  xvi.  2). 

3.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  conclude  from  the  elevation 
of  His  teaching  and  His  character. 

The  teaching  of  Christ  surpasses  that  of  the  wisest  who  have 
ever  lived  on  earth,  and  is  far  removed  from  the  teaching  of  all 
other  religions. 

Christ's  doctrine  answers  all  the  needs  of  the  human  heart,  and  is 
adapted  to  all,  whatever  be  their  station,  age,  sex,  or  nation;  the 
greatest  philosophers,  even  men  like  St.  Augustine,  found  in  it  the 
peace  they  longed  for.  Christ's  doctrine  is  a  perfect  revelation  of  the 
highest  end  of  man  and  of  the  creation,  besides  inculcating  the 
loftiest  virtues :  such  as  love  of  one's  neighbor,  humility,  gentleness, 
patience,  love  of  one's  enemies,  poverty,  which  up  to  the  time  of 
Christ  had  been  quite  unknown.  Kant  confesses  that  reason  would 
not,  even  at  the  present  day,  have  discovered  the  universal  moral 
law  unless  Christianity  had  taught  it.  Christ's  teaching,  besides 
being  lofty,  was  so  simple,  and  announced  with  such  clearness,  that 
the  people  marvelled  to  hear  Him  (Matt.  vii.  28).  Even  Strauss  does 
not  hesitate  to  declare  that  to  surpass  the  teaching  of  Jesus  is  an  im 
possible  task  for  all  time.  There  is  absolutely  nothing  in  the  Chris 
tian  religion  that  is  opposed  to  sound  reason,  or  can  lower  the  true 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  203 

dignity  of  man.  Of  how  many  of  the  other  forms  of  religion  can 
that  be  said  ?  Mohammedanism  teaches  fatalism  and  is  propagated 
by  the  sword.  Even  the  Talmud  contains  a  large  mixture  of  very 
imperfect  doctrine. 

Christ  was  free  from  all  sin,  and  was  so  conspicuous  for  vir 
tue  that  for  all  time  He  must  remain  the  model  for  all  men. 

The  traitor  Judas  confessed  that  he  had  shed  "  innocent  blood  " 
(Matt,  xxxvii.  4)  ;  Pilate  could  find  no  cause  in  Christ  (John  xviii. 
38) ;  Christ  Himself  challenged  the  Jews :  "  Which  of  you  shall  con 
vince  Me  of  sin  ?  "  and  none  of  them  dared  reply  (John  viii.  46).  He 
was  quite  free  from  all  prejudices  and  narrow-mindedness,  which  are 
the  result  of  surroundings  and  nationality.  We  see  this  in  His  rela 
tions  to  the  Samaritans  and  Romans,  more  especially  in  the  beautiful 
parable  of  the  Good  Samaritan  (Matt.  x.  30-37).  The  following  virtues 
were  most  conspicuous :  His  love  of  His  neighbor :  "  He  went  about 
doing  good"  (Acts  x.  38)  and  laid  down  His  life  for  others;  His 
humility,  which  was  seen  in  His  associating  with  the  most  despised 
among  the  people;  His  gentleness  in  His  forbearance  with  His  ene 
mies  and  even  with  the  disciple  who  betrayed  Him;  His  patience  in 
suffering  the  greatest  tortures ;  His  clemency  in  His  conduct  towards 
sinners;  His  love  of  His  enemies  in  His  praying  for  them  on  the 
cross;  His  love  of  prayer  in  spending  whole  nights  praying  to  the 
Father.  His  whole  character  is  one  of  the  wonders  of  history.  His 
greatest  enemies  even  felt  awe  in  His  presence;  no  one,  for  instance, 
dared  resist  Him  when  He  drove  the  buyers  and  sellers  out  of  the 
Temple  (Matt.  xxi.  12).  When  the  Pharisees  wished  to  stone  Him 
for  claiming  to  be  God,  He  went  through  their  midst  and  they  made 
way  for  Him  (John  x.  39).  The  soldiers  in  the  garden  fell  to  the 
ground  at  a  word  from  His  lips  (John  xviii.  6). 

4.  That  Jesus  Christ  is  God  we  conclude  from  the  rapid  spread 
of  His  teaching  and  from  the  miracles  which  accompanied  this 
teaching  throughout  the  world. 

His  teaching  was  propagated  in  spite  of  the  greatest  ob 
stacles,  and  by  the  simplest  of  means. 

The  obstacles  among  the  heathen  were:  The  laws  condemning  to 
death  or  banishment  those  who  professed  a  new  religion.  Calumnies 
the  grossest  were  uttered  against  the  Christians,  accusing  them  of 
being  godless,  of  cannibalism,  attributing  to  them  various  misfortunes 
such  as  wars,  pestilence,  and  famine.  All  this  led  to  a  persecution 
extending  over  some  three  hundred  years ;  up  to  the  edict  of  Constan- 
tine  the  Great  there  are  reckoned  about  ten  persecutions.  The  doc 
trines  of  the  Christians  afforded  another  series  of  obstacles;  the  rever 
ence  paid  to  One  Who  had  suffered  the  death  of  the  cross  was  ac 
counted  a  folly,  added  to  which  this  doctrine  \va.j  introduced  by  Jews, 
a  sect  held  in  the  lowest  esteem  by  the  Romans.  'No  less  repulsive 
to  the  sensual  and  pleasure-loving  heathen  were  the  restraint  and 
self-denial  inculcated  by  the  Christian  religion.  The  means  em 
ployed  for  converting  the  world  were  twelve  poor  fishermen,  un 
equipped  with  eloquence  to  persuade,  or  with  the  countenance  of  the 
great  ones  of  the  earth  to  support  their  mission.  They  did  indeed 

204  Faith. 

work  miracles,  but,  as  St.  Augustine  says,  the  spread  of  Christianity 
without  miracles  would  have  been  the  greatest  miracle  of  any.  On 
Pentecost  five  thousand  were  baptized;  two  thousand  more  after  the 
miracle  at  the  gate  of  the  Temple,  and  in  the  year  A.D.  100  Christian 
ity  had  extended  over  the  whole  Roman  world.  Pliny,  the  Governor  of 
Bithynia,  reported  to  the  Emperor  Trajan  that  the  heathen  temples 
were  left  empty  because  all  were  becoming  Christians  in  the  towns 
and  villages.  St.  Justinus,  the  philosopher,  wrote  in  A.D.  150: 
"  There  is  not  a  nation  where  prayers  are  not  offered  to  the  heavenly 
Eather  in  the  name  of  the  Crucified." 

The  effect  of  Christ's  teaching  was  that  idolatry  with  its 
horrible  abuses  disappeared,  and  that  the  whole  life  of  man  was 
reformed  and  ennobled. 

The  sacrifice  of  human  victims  was  abolished,  and  the  bloody 
spectacles  of  the  gladiatorial  shows.  All  kinds  of  charitable  institu 
tions  arose  for  the  blind,  the  poor,  the  sick,  etc.,  owing  their  existence 
to  the  teaching  of  Christian  mercy.  Polygamy  died  out,  and  woman 
regained  her  dignity.  Order  was  established  in  the  family  life  by 
the  Christian  doctrine  of  the  indissolubility  of  the  marriage  tie. 
Slavery  was  gradually  abolished,  for  every  man  saw  in  his  neighbor 
the  image  of  God.  The  cruel  laws  against  malefactors  became  milder, 
and  wars  became  less  frequent.  Trade,  science,  and  art  were 
cultivated  more,  and  labor  acquired  a  new  dignity.  Even  Julian  the 
Apostate  counselled  the  heathen  to  imitate  the  Christians  in  the  gen 
erosity  and  purity  of  their  lives.  A  religion  which  produces  so  much 
good  must  be  from  God.  It  is  sometimes  urged  that  Christ's  teach 
ing  has  been  the  cause  of  many  religious  wars  and  schisms.  The 
answer  to  this  objection  is  that  it  is  not  Christ's  teaching  but  man's 
perversity  in  not  following  that  teaching,  or  wresting  it  to  his  own 
destruction,  which  causes  so  much  evil. 

Jesus  Christ  is  Our  Lord. 

Christ's  words  at  the  Last  Supper  were :  "  You  call  Me  Master 
and  Lord,  and  you  say  well,  for  so  I  am"  (John  xiii.  13). 

We  call  Christ  "  Our  Lord  "  because  He  is  our  Creator,  Ee- 
deemer,  Lawgiver,  Teacher,  and  Judge. 

Christ  is  our  Creator :  "  In  Him  were  all  things  created  in  heaven 
and  on  earth,  visible  and  invisible"  (Col.  i.  16),  and  by  His  Son  God 
made  the  world  (Heb.  i.  2).  St.  John  calls  Christ  the  Word,  and 
says:  "  Without  Him  was  made  nothing  that  was  made  "  (John  i.  3). 
Christ  is  our  Redeemer.  By  Him  we  are  set  free  from  the  slavery  of 
the  devil  (1  Pet.  i.  18).  Hence  the  Apostle  says:  "  Know  ye  not  that 
...  ye  are  not  your  own,  for  you  are  bought  with  a  great  price  "  (1 
Cor.  vi.  19).  He  is  also  our  Lawgiver,  for  He  developed  the  teaching 
of  the  Ten  Commandments,  and  gave  the  two  precepts  of  love.  He 
called  Himself  the  "Lord  of  the  Sabbath"  (Luke  vi.  5).  Christ  is 
our  Teacher,  because  He  taught  men  to  be  like  to  God,  and  in  John 
xiii.  13,  He  calls  Himself  our  Master.  Christ  is  also  our  Judge,  for 
He  will  come  again  in  glory  to  summon  all  mankind  before  His  j 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  205 

ment-seat  and  separate  the  sheep  from  the  goats  (Matt.  xxv.  31,  32). 
Then  will  the  just  as  well  as  the  wicked  address  Him,  saying:  "  Lord, 
when  did  we  see  Thee  hungry  or  thirsty,  or  a  stranger,  or  naked,  or 
sick,  or  in  prison?  "  (Matt.  xxv.  37,  44.)  "  He  is  the  blessed  and  only 
mighty,  the  King  of  kings  and  Lord  of  lords  ...  to  Whom  be  honor 
and  empire  everlasting.  Amen"  (1  Tim.  vi.  15,  16). 



1.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  the  Third  Person  of  the  Blessed  Trinity, 
and  is  therefore  God  Himself. 

Hence  He  is  eternal,  omnipresent,  omniscient,  almighty. 

"  The  Holy  Ghost,"  says  Tertullian,  "  is  God  of  God,  as  light  is 
of  light."  St.  Cyril  of  Alexandria  compares  the  Holy  Ghost  in  His 
likeness  to  the  Father  and  the  Son,  to  the  vapor  arising  from  water, 
which  is  like  in  its  nature  to  the  water  producing  it.  St.  Isidore, 
commenting  on  these  words  of  Christ :  "  I  drive  out  devils  through 
the  finger  of  God,"  says  that  as  the  finger  is  of  the  same  nature  as  the 
body,  so  the  Holy  Ghost  is  of  the  nature  of  God.  St.  Athanasius 
writes  that  the  Holy  Ghost  is  called  the  finger  of  God,  because  it  is 
only  through  Him  that  the  Father  and  the  Son  enter  into  communi 
cation  with  man.  Through  Him  it  was  that  the  tables  of  stone  were 
written.  In  the  second  General  Council  of  Constantinople  in  A.D.  381, 
it  was  defined  that  the  Holy  Ghost  is  eternal,  omnipresent,  etc.,  in 
opposition  to  the  heresy  of  Macedonius.  The  Holy  Ghost  proceeds 
from  the  Father  and  the  Son.  The  Greeks,  who. denied  this  article 
of  faith  and  fell  away  from  the  Church  in  A.D.  867  and  A.D.  1053  fell 
under  the  Turkish  yoke  in  the  year  1453  A.D.,  and  strangely  enough 
on  the  feast  of  Pentecost. 

2.  The  Holy  Ghost  dispenses  the  graces  which  Christ  merited 
by  the  sacrifice  of  the  cross. 

The  Holy  Ghost  produces  nothing  in  addition  to  what  Christ 
gained  for  us.  He  only  increases  and  perfects  that  work  of  Christ; 
just  as  the  sun  when  shining  on  a  field  does  not  sow  new  seed,  but 
develops  that  which  is  already  sown.  A  grace  is  a  favor  granted  to 
a  person  who  has  no  claim  to  the  favor.  If  a  sovereign  grants  a  re 
prieve  to  a  criminal  under  sentence  of  death,  that  reprieve  is  a  grace. 
So,  too,  God  acts  with  regard  to  man,  granting  Him  numberless  fa 
vors  without  any  merit  on  the  part  of  man  (Rom.  iii.  24).  These  favors 
or  graces  may  be  temporal,  such  as  health,  riches,  station;  or  spiritual, 
such  as  forgiveness  of  our  sins.  It  is  with  the  latter  class  of  favors 
that  we  are  dealing  now,  and  it  was  to  secure  these  for  us  that  Christ 
consented  to  die  on  the  cross. 

3.  Hence  the  assistance  of  the  Holy  Ghost  is  absolutely  necei- 
sary  for  salvation. 

206  Faith. 

~No  mere  natural  act  of  a  man  can  gain  for  him  eternal  salvation. 
The  following  illustration  may  help  us.  A  little  boy  longs  to  reach 
some  fruit  on  a  tree;  he  stretches  out  his  arms  to  the  utmost,  but 
the  fruit  is  still  out  of  reach;  the  child's  father  then  lifts  him  up, 
so  that  he  can  pluck  the  fruit  for  himself.  Thus  man  cannot  attain 
salvation  by  his  own  efforts  till  the  Holy  Ghost  gives  him  the  super 
natural  strength.  Just  as  the  eye  cannot  discern  distant  objects 
without  a  telescope,  and  the  arm  cannot  lift  heavy  weights  without 
a  lever,  so  the  natural  powers  of  man  require  supernatural  help 
in  order  that  salvation  may  be  obtained.  Hence  the  words  of  Christ : 
"  Unless  a  man  be  born  again  of  water  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  he  can 
not  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  God"  (John  iii.  5). 

Without  the  help  of  the  Holy  Ghost  we  cannot  do  the  least 
work  deserving  of  salvation. 

We  can  do  nothing  without  God's  help.  "  Our  sufficiency  is  from 
God  "  (2  Cor.  iii.  5).  As  St.  Thomas  Aquinas  says,  we  are,  since  the 
Pall,  like  a  sick  man  who  cannot  leave  his  bed  without  help.  The  fol 
lowing  may  serve  as  illustrations.  A  man  cannot  work  without 
light;  thus  too  he  cannot  do  any  good  work  without  the  light  of  the 
Holy  Ghost.  The  body  is  helpless  unless  animated  by  the  soul ;  in  like 
manner  man  can  do  no  good  unless  the  Holy  Spirit,  Who  is  the  life 
of  the  soul,  come  to  his  aid  (St.  Fulgentius).  Our  souls  bring  forth 
no  fruit  unless  they  are  watered  by  the  rain  of  the  grace  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  (St.  Hilary).  As  grace  can  do  nothing  without  the  co-operation 
of  the  will,  so  neither  can  the  will  achieve  any  result  without  grace. 
Compare  the  action  of  earth ;  it  can  produce  no  fruits  without  rain, 
and  the  rain  cannot  produce  without  the  earth  (St.  John  Chrysos- 
tom) .  As  ink  is  required  for  the  pen,  so  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Ghost 
is  necessary  to  inscribe  the  virtues  in  our  souls  (St.  Thomas 
Aquinas).  Every  good  work  is  the  effect  of  two  co-ordinate  prin 
ciples  :  the  Holy  Ghost  and  our  own  free  will  (1  Cor.  xv.  10)  ;  we  may 
compare  the  action  of  the  schoolmaster  who  guides  a  boy's  hand  while 
he  writes.  Thus  we  can  never  ascribe  the  merit  of  our  good  works 
to  ourselves.  The  earth  does  not  bring  forth  flowers,  but  rather  the 
sun  by  means  of  the  earth.  As  we  ascribe  the  activity  of  the  body  to 
the  soul,  so  we  should  ascribe  our  good  works  to  the  grace  of  God. 
We  might  put  down  our  good  works  to  our  own  account  with  as  much 
truth  as  a  soldier  might  claim  the  victory  without  reference  to  his 

With  the-  help  of  the  Holy  Ghost  we  can  carry  out  the  most 
difficult  works. 

St.  Paul  says :  "  I  can  do  all  in  Him  Who  strengtheneth  me " 
(Phil.  iv.  13). 


The  graces  conferred  by  the  Holy  Ghost  are  as  follows: 

1.  He  gives  to  all  men  actual  graces.- 

2.  He  gives  to  some  men  sanctifying  grace. 

TJie  Apostles9  Creed.  207 

3.  He  usually  gives  the  seven  special  gifts,  and  occasionally 
quite  extraordinary  graces. 

4.  He  sustains  and  guides  the  Catholic  Church. 

Actual  Grace. 

1.  The  Holy  Ghost  influences  our  lives  by  enlightening  the 
mind  and  strengthening  the  will.  Such  passing  influence  of  the 
Holy  Spirit  is  called  "  actual  grace." 

Before  Pentecost  the  apostles  were  still  ignorant ;  "  slow  of  heart," 
as  Our  Lord  expressed  it  (Luke  xxiv.  25) ;  the  Holy  Ghost  in  de 
scending  upon  them  enlightened  their  understanding  and  strength 
ened  their  will;  the  fear  which  had  caused  them  to  keep  in  conceal 
ment  was  now  changed  into  undaunted  courage.  The  fiery  tongues 
symbolized  the  enlightenment  of  their  minds,  the  whirlwind  the 
strength  which  they  received.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  like  the  sun, 
giving  light  and  warmth.  When  the  sun  begins  to  shine,  the  stars 
which  were  visible  before  begin  to  wane,  and  we  see  nothing  in  the 
firmament  but  the.  sun.  When  the  Holy  Ghost  enlightens  our  souls 
we  despise  all  earthly  objects  which  formerly  attracted  our  love,  such 
as  eating,  drinking,  playing,  etc.,  and  all  our  thoughts  are  turned 
towards  God.  Moreover  the  light  of  the  sun  reveals  to  us  the  true 
form  of  objects,  the  stones  which  we  have  gathered,  the  various  roads 
before  us.  The  light  of  the  Holy  Ghost  shows  us  the  true  value  of 
earthly  things,  our  own  sins,  and  the  true  goal  of  life.  When  the  sun 
comes  the  ice  begins  to  melt  and  the  plants  to  blossom.  So,  too,  the 
Holy  Ghost  warms  our  hearts,  stirring  them  with  the  love  of  God 
and  of  our  neighbor,  and  helps  us  to  do  actions  deserving  of  heaven. 
The  Holy  Ghost  is  therefore  a  light,  descending  from  the  Father  of 
light  ( Jas.  i.  17) ;  as  St.  Augustine  says :  "  Actual  grace  is  a  light 
which  enlightens  and  moves  the  sinner." 

There  are  many  and  various  channels  through  which  the 
Holy  Ghost  makes  His  influence  act;  for  instance,  sermons,  the 
reading  of  good  books,  illness  and  death,  the  good  example  of 
others,  religious  pictures,  the  advice  of  superiors  and  friends,  etc. 

The  people  were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost  at  Pentecost  when  they 
heard  the  preaching  of  the  apostles ;  so  too  St.  Anthony  the  Hermit 
(356),  on  hearing  a  sermon  on  the  rich  young  man;  St.  Ignatius  of 
Loyola (1556),  by  the  reading  of  the  lives  of  the  saints;  St.  Francis  of 
Assisi  (1226)  during  an  illness;  St.  Francis  Borgia  (1572)  on  seeing 
the  dead  body  of  the  Queen  Isabella;  St.  Norbert  (1134)  on  seeing  a 
death  by  lightning,  etc.,  etc.  In  all  these  cases  there  was  a  sudden 
interior  change,  which  the  Holy  Ghost  took  occasion  of  to  speak  to 
their  hearts.  All  of  them  might  have  said  with  St.  Cyprian :  "  When 
the  Holy  Ghost  came  into  my  heart,  He  changed  me  into  another 
man."  Often  God  sends  us  suffering,  before  the  Holy  Ghost  speaks 
to  us.  Just  as  wax  must  be  subjected  to  the  flame  and  the  stamp  be 
fore  receiving  an  impression,  so  the  heart  of  man  must  be  softened  by 
suffering  in  order  to  receive  the  impress  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  Before 
paper  can  be  used  for  writing,  it  must  be  prepared  and  finished ;  in  a 

208  Faith. 

similar  manner  man  must  be  purified  from  his  evil  desires  before  he 
is  fit  for  the  working  of  the  Holy  Ghost  in  his  soul. 

2.  The  action  of  the  Holy  Spirit  sometimes  makes  itself  per 
ceptible  to  the  senses. 

For  example,  the  appearance  of  the  dove  and  the  voice  from 
heaven  at  the  baptism  of  Christ,  the  fiery  tongues  and  the  rushing 
as  of  wind  on  Pentecost.  We  might  reflect  also  how  Christ  instituted 
the  Sacraments  with  forms  appealing  to  the  senses. 

3.  The  Holy  Ghost  does  not  force  us,  but  leaves  us  in  perfect 
possession  of  our  free  will. 

The  Holy  Ghost  is,  as  it  were,  a  guide  Whom  men  may  follow 
or  not  as  they  list.  He  is  the  light  proceeding  from  God,  to  which 
man  can,  if  he  will,  close  his  eyes ;  as  St.  Augustine  says :  "  To  obey 
the  voice  of  God  or  not  is  left  to  a  man's  free  will."  God  does  not 
act  upon  us  as  if  we  were  inanimate  objects  without  intellect  or  free 
will.  Man's  freedom  is  very  sacred  to  God,  nor  will  lie  deprive  him 
of  it  even  when  he  uses  it  to  his  own  perdition.  In  the  words  of  St. 
Gertrude :  "  As  God  would  not  allow  our  great  enemy  to  deprive  us 
of  our  freedom,  so  neither  would  He  take  it  from  us  Himself." 

Man  can  co-operate  with  actual  grace  or  reject  it  (Ps.  xciv. 

Saul  of  Tarsus  co-operated  with  grace,  the  rich  young  man  (Luke 
xviii.  18-25)  rejected  it.  The  people  who  on  Pentecost  reviled  the 
apostles  rejected  grace  (Acts  ii.  13),  as  also  those  who  mocked  at  St. 
Paul  when  he  spoke  to  them  on  the  Areopagus  of  the  Gospel  and  the 
resurrection  of  the  dead  (Acts  xvii.  32).  Herod,  too,  when  he  heard 
of  the  birth  of  Christ  from  the  Magi,  failed  to  co-operate  with  grace. 
St.  Francis  de  Sales  draws  an  illustration  from  marriage:  When  a 
man  wishes  to  marry  he  offers  his  hand  to  some  suitable  person,  and 
that  person  may  accept  or  reject  the  offer;  thus  God  acts.  He  offers 
us  His  grace  and  we  may  accept  it  or  reject  it.  Whoever  constantly 
resists  actual  grace,  and  dies  in  that  resistance  is  guilty  of  grave 
sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost,  a  sin  which  cannot  be  forgiven.  Such 
a  man  resembles  the  devil,  who  is  ever  resisting  the  truth. 

Whoever  co-operates  with  actual  grace  acquires  greater 
graces;  but  he  who  resists  loses  other  graces  and  must  answer 
at  the  judgment  for  his  obstinacy. 

The  first  grace,  if  responded  to,  brings  with  it  a  string  of  other 
graces.  The  servant  who  employed  well  his  five  talents  received  five 
talents  more  (Matt.  xxv.  28).  Hence  the  words  of  Christ:  He  that 
hath,  to  him  shall  be  given  and  he  shall  abound  (Matt.  xxv.  29). 
The  punishment  which  fell  on  the  city  of  Jerusalem  in  A.D.  70  is  a 
terrible  example  of  the  rejection  of  grace,  because  it  did  not  know 
the  time  of  its  visitation  (Luke  xix.  44).  To  him  who  rejects  grace 
apply  those  words  of  Christ :  "  The  unprofitable  servant  cast  ye  out 
into  the  exterior  darkness.  Thore  shall  be  weeping  and  gnashing  of 
teeth  "  (Matt.  xxv.  30).  It  is  an  insult  to  a  great  lord  to  refuse  his 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  209 

gifts,  all  the  more  if  he  be  the  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth  and  God 
Himself.  He  who  rejects  graces  has  as  little  chance  of  getting  to 
heaven  as  the  traveller  of  reaching  his  destination  who  should  neg 
lect  to  enter  the  train  while  it  is  in  the  station.  The  moment  of 
actual  grace  is  like  the  crisis  of  a  sickness,  when  a  little  carelessness 
may  cause  death.  Many  people  give  a  poor  reception  to  the  Holy  Ghost 
when  He  comes  to  them  on  the  occasion  of  a  death,  the  reception 
of  the  sacraments,  or  the  celebration  of  great  feasts,  by  giving  way  to 
worldly  distractions  and  following  their  inclinations.  They  should 
then  seek  solitude  and  time  for  recollection  and  prayer,  or  purify 
their  souls  from  sin  by  confession.  Thus  acted  St.  Ignatius  of  Loy 
ola  when  after  his  conversion  he  retired  into  the  cave  at  Manresa; 
thus  too  St.  Mary  of  Egypt  who  retired  into  the  desert.  "  Sailors  put 
out  to  sea,"  says  Louis  of  Granada,  "  as  soon  as  they  see  that  a  f  avor- 
t  able  wind  is  blowing ;  with  like  promptitude  ought  we  to  act  when  we 
feel  the  influence  of  the  Holy  Spirit."  If  we  delay  G  od  will  withdraw 
His  graces,  just  as  in  the  case  of  the  Israelites.  Those  who  failed 
to  rise  in  the  early  morning  to  gather  the  manna  found  it  had  melted 
away  after  sunrise.  "  The  greater  the  graces  we  receive,"  says  St. 
Gregory  the  Great,  "  the  greater  is  our  responsibility."  Christ's  own 
words  are :  "  Unto  whomsoever  much  is  given,  of  him  much  shall  be 
required"  (Luke  xii.  48). 

4.  The  Holy  Ghost  acts  on  every  man,  on  the  sinner  as  well 
as  on  the  just;  and  more  on  Catholics  than  on  non-Catholics  and 

God  is  the  Good  Shepherd  (John  x.).  Who  seeks  the  lost  sheep  till 
He  finds  it  (Luke  xv.).  Christ,  the  Light  of  the  world,  enlightens 
every  man  that  comes  into  the  world  (John  i.  9).  God's  will  is  that 
all  men  be  saved,  and  come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  truth  (1  Tim. 
ii.  4).  Besides  all  this  God  has  a  very  special  love  for  the  souls  of 
men.  "  My  delight  is  to  be  with  the  children  of  men  "  (Prov.  viii. 

The  Holy  Ghost  was  even  from  the  beginning  of  the  world 
active  in  promoting  the  salvation  of  mankind,  but  on  Pente 
cost  He  came  into  the  world  in  a  much  more  efficacious  manner. 

While  the  Jews  were  in  exile  in  Babylon,  the  Holy  Ghost  was 
working  in  the  heathen  by  the  many  miracles  which  were  wrought 
to  demonstrate  God's  power;  as  in  the  incident  of  the  three  children 
in  the  furnace  and  Daniel  in  the  lion's  den.  He  was  working  not 
only  in  the  patriarchs  and  prophets,  but  even  in  heathens  like  Soc 
rates  (who  taught  the  existence  of  one  God,  and  for  that  reason  was 
condemned  to  death  in  399  B.C.).  Just  as  the  sunrise  is  preceded 
by  the  dawn,  so  the  sun  of  justice,  Christ,  is  preceded  by  the  dawn  of 
the  Holy  Ghost. 

The  Holy  Ghost  does  not  distribute  His  gifts  equally  to  all 
men;  the  members  of  the  Catholic  Church  receive  the  richest 

210  Faith. 

One  servant  five  talents,  another  two,  and  another  one  talent 
(Matt.  xxv.  15).  The  Jews  received  more  than  the  heathen;  the 
blessed  Mother  of  God  more  than  all  other  men.  The  towns  of  Coro- 
zain  and  Bethsaida  received  more  graces  than  Tyre  and  Sidon,  Ca- 
pharnaum  more  than  Sodom  (Matt.  xi.  21,  23).  There  are  ordinary 
graces  which  are  given  to  all  men  without  distinction,  and  there  are 
special  graces  which  God  grants  only  to  a  few  souls,  and  that  with  a 
view  to  some  special  work.  Many  graces  may  be  obtained,  especially 
by  the  prayers  of  others  and  by  co-operation  with  the  first  grace. 
St.  Augustine  received  many  more  graces  than  other  men  in  conse 
quence  of  the  prayers  of  St.  Monica;  so,  too,  St.  Paul  through  the 
dying  prayer  of  St.  Stephen.  The  holy  apostles  obeyed  the  first  call 
of  Our  Lord,  and  thus  obtained  many  other  graces. 

The  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost  on  the  souls  of  men  is  not 
constant,  but  occasional. 

Hence  the  exhortation  of  St.  Paul :  "  Now  is  the  acceptable  time ; 
behold  now  is  the  day  of  salvation"  (2  Cor.  vi.  2).  Compare  the 
parable  of  the  vineyard  where  the  workmen  received  only  one  sum 
mons  (Matt.  xx.).  Times  of  special  grace  are  the  seasons  of  Lent  or 
when  a  mission  is  being  given,  or  the  jubilee  year.  These  times  of 
grace  are  like  the  market-days  when  things  are  easier  to  obtain ;  with 
this  difference,  that  no  money  is  required.  "  Come  buy  wine  and  milk, 
without  money,  and  without  any  price"  (Is.  Iv.  1). 

5.  Actual  graces  are  obtained  by  the  performance  of  good 
works,  especially  by  prayer,  fasting,  and  almsdeeds;  and  more 
especially  by  the  use  of  the  means  of  grace  provided  by  the 
Church,  by  hearing  of  holy  Mass,  worthy  reception  of  the  sacra 
ments,  and  attendance  at  sermons. 

God's  grace  cannot  be  merited  by  our  own  good  works  alone,  other 
wise  it  would  not  be  grace  (Rom.  xi.  6),  yet  these  good  works  are 
necessary,  for,  as  St.  Augustine  says :  "  God,  Who  created  us  without 
our  co-operation  will  not  save  us  without  our  co-operation."  Not 
according  to  the  works  which  we  have  done  but  out  of  His  mercy  has 
God  saved  us  (Tit.  iii.  5).  The  Holy  Ghost  gives  to  each  one  as  He 
wills  (1  Cor.  xii.  11),  with  regard,  however,  to  the  preparation  and  co 
operation  of  each  individual  (Council  of  Trent,  6,  7).  Hence  it  is 
that  a  man  receives  more  actual  grace  as  he  is  richer  in  good  works. 
In  particular  we  know  that  prayer  to  the  Holy  Ghost  is  very  effica 
cious,  for  the  Father  in  heaven  gives  the  Holy  Spirit  to  those  who 
ask  Him.  Prayer  to  the  Mother  of  God  is  also  very  efficacious :  for 
she  is  "full  of  "grace,"  and  "the  dispenser  of  all  God's  gifts."  "Let 
no  one,"  says  St.  Alphonsus,  "  consider  this  last  title  extravagant, 
for  the  greatest  saints  have  so  spoken  of  her,  and  the  saints,  as  we 
know,  were  inspired  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  the  Spirit  of  truth."  Prayer 
to  the  Blessed  Sacrament  also  confers  many  graces.  So,  too,  retire' 
ment  from  the  world,  or  the  solitude  in  which  God  speaks  to  the  heart 
(Osee  ii.  14),  and  the  mortification  of  the  senses  are  excellent  means 
of  drawing  down  grace;  a  good  example  is  found  in  the  conduct  of 
the  apostles  during  the  time  preceding  Pentecost. 

The  Apostles'  Creed  211' 

Sanctifying  Grace. 

1.  When  the  sinner  co-operates  with  actual  grace,  the  Holy 
Ghost  enters  his  soul  and  confers  on  it  a  brightness  and  beauty 
which  claim  the  friendship  of  God.  This  indwelling  beauty  of 
the  soul  is  due  to  the  presence  of  the  Holy  Spirit  and  is  called 
"  sanctifying  grace." 

Iron  placed  in  a  fire  becomes  heated,  and  glows  like  the  fire  itself ; 
so  the  Holy  Spirit,  entering  into  a  soul  and  dwelling  there  (1  Cor. 
vi.  19),  gives  it  a  new  nature,  a  light  and  glory  which  we  call  "  sanc 
tifying  grace."  That  God  is  drawn  to  men  by  their  co-operation 
with  His  grace  appears  from  God's  own  words :  "  Turn  ye  to  Me.  .  .  . 
and  I  will  turn  to  you  "  (Zach.  i.  3).  Sanctifying  grace  is  like  a  new 
garment,  so  it  is  represented  by  the  wedding-garment  and  the  parable 
of  the  supper  (Matt,  xxii.),  and  of  the  prodigal  son  (Luke  xv.).  "  The 
soul  acquires  a  great  beauty  by  the  presence  of  the  Holy  Spirit,"  says 
St.  John  Chrysostom.  "  Pie  who  enters  into  the  state  of  grace,  is  like 
a  man  bowed  down  with  infirmities  and  age,  wbo,  by  a  miracle,  has 
been  transformed  into  a  beautiful  youth  dressed  in  purple  and 
carrying  a  sceptre."  "  If,"  says  Blosius,  "  the  beauty  of  a  soul  in 
the  state  of  grace  could  be  seen,  mankind  would  be  transported  with 
wonder  and  delight."  Just  as  a  palace  must  be  beautifully  furnished 
when  the  king  comes  to  dwell  in  it,  so  the  soul  of  man  must  be  made 
into  a  beautiful  temple  by  the  Holy  Ghost  before  God  can  dwell  in 
it.  After  the  resurrection  the  appearance  of  the  body  will  be  deter 
mined  by  that  of  the  soul.  "  Let  us  therefore,"  says  St.  John  Chry 
sostom,  "  give  all  our  care  to  the  soul ;  for  this  is  the  true  interest  of 
our  bodies,  which  otherwise  will  perish  with  the  soul."  Sanctifying 
grace  is  not  merely  a  gift  of  God  (Council  of  Trent,  6,  11),  but  God 
gives  us  of  His  Spirit  (1  John  iv.  13).  The  Holy  Ghost  penetrates  us 
through  and  through  like  fire;  He  is  not  in  us  merely  like  a  ray  of 
sunshine  in  a  room.  In  consequence  of  this  supernatural  beauty 
the  soul  is  enriched  with  the  friendship  of  God.  St.  Mary  Magda 
lene  of  Pazzi  says  that  if  a  man  in  the  state  of  sanctifying  grace 
knew  how  pleasing  his  soul  is  to  God  he  would  die  of  excess  of  joy. 
We  are,  in  consequence  of  sanctifying  grace,  no  longer  the  servants 
of  God  but  His  friends  (John  xv.  15).  The  expression  "friendship" 
implies  of  itself  a  certain  likeness ;  and  this  elevation  from  the  state 
of  sin  to  that  of  friendship  with  God  is  called  "justification" 
(Council  of  Trent,  6,  4),  or  regeneration  (John  iii.  5;  Tit.  iii.  4-7), 
or  the  putting  off  of  the  old  man  and  the  putting  on  of  the  new  (Eph. 
iv.  22).  Examples:  As  soon  as  David,  Paul,  and  the  prodigal  son  re 
pented,  they  received  the  Holy  Ghost  and  the  gift  of  sanctifying 
grace;  otherwise  they  would  never  have  accomplished  their  great  sac 
rifice.  David  and  Saul  spent  many  days  in  fasting  and  prayer,  and 
the  prodigal  son  faced  the  humiliation  of  returning  to  his  father's 
roof.  It  is  quite  certain  that  whoever  has  perfect  contrition  receives 
the  Holy  Spirit  even  before  confessing.  Thus  the  patriarchs  and 
prophets  had  sanctifying  grace  in  consequence  of  their  penitential 
spirit,  and  their  belief  in  a  Saviour.  We  know,  too,  that  the  Holy 
Spirit  resides  in  some  men  even  before  Baptism,  as  in  the  case  of  the 

212  Faith. 

centurion  Cornelius,  and  the  people  assembled  in  his  house  (Acts  x. 

2.  Usually,  however,  the  Holy  Spirit  makes  His  entry  on  the 
reception  of  the  Sacraments  of  Baptism  or  Penance. 

The  sinner  under  the  action  of  the  Holy  Ghost  begins  to  believe 
in  God,  to  fear  Him,  to  hope  in  Him,  and  love  Him;  then  to  bewail 
his  sins,  and  finally  decides  to  seek  the  means  of  grace  in  the  Sacra 
ments  of  Baptism  or  Penance.  Then  only  is  his  conversion  perfect. 
And  actual  experience  goes  to  prove  that  Baptism  or  a  general  con 
fession  is  in  most  sinners  the  beginning  of  a  new  life.  Even  in  chil 
dren  their  baptism  is  the  beginning  of  a  new  spiritual  life. 

3.  When  the  Holy  Spirit  enters  into  us,  He  brings  with  Him 
a  new  spiritual  life. 

God  is  the  God  of  life,  and  His  presence  diffuses  life.  His  pres 
ence  in  our  souls  is  like  the  presence  of  the  soul  in  our  bodies.  Our 
souls  have  a  natural  life  of  their  own,  and  by  means  of  the  intellect 
and  the  will  learn  to  appreciate  the  true,  the  beautiful,  and  the  good. 
But  this  natural  life,  compared  with  the  life  imparted  by  God,  is  like 
the  statue  compared  to  its  living  original.  This  divine  life  is  acquired 
by  the  soul  when  the  Holy  Spirit  takes  possession  of  the  soul  with 
His  grace,  and  it  enables  the  soul  to  know,  love,  and  enjoy  God;  this 
is  the  supernatural  life.  Just  as  Elias  (3  Kings  xvii.)  and  Eliseus  (4 
Kings  iv.)  restored  the  dead  children  to  life  by  measuring  their 
bodies  over  that  of  the  child,  mouth  to  mouth,  hand  to  hand,  member 
to  member,  so  does  the  Holy  Ghost  breathe  the  divine  life  into  us, 
giving  us  to  see  with  His  sight,  to  work  with  His  power;  and  thus 
our  soul  is  born  to  a  new  life  (1  Pet.  i.  3,  4).  Grace  is,  in  the  words 
of  Our  Saviour,  "  a  fountain  of  water  springing  into  life  everlast 
ing  "  (John  iv.  14).  "A  heavenly  seed  is  sown  in  us,"  says  St.  Peter 
Chrysologus,  "  destined  to  spring  up  to  everlasting  life.  We  are  of  a 
heavenly  family,  and  Our  Eather  is  throned  in  heaven.  See  to  what 
heights  grace  has  raised  thee  !  "  While  our  bodies  decay  from  day  to 
day,  our  souls  become  daily  more  full  of  the  strength  of  youth  by  vir 
tue  of  grace  (2  Cor.  iv.  16).  Even  in  our  bodies  God's  grace  lays  the 
germ  of  everlasting  life :  "  And  if  the  spirit  of  Him  that  raised  up 
Jesus  from  the  dead,  dwell  in  you;  He  that  raised  up  Jesus  Christ 
from  the  dead  shall  quicken  also  your  mortal  bodies,  because  of  His 
spirit  that  dwelleth  in  you"  (Rom.  viii.  11). 

The  following  are  some  of  the  effects  of  the  Holy  Spirit 
when  He  acts  upon  us  by  His  grace: 

1.  He  purifies  us  from  all  mortal  sin. 

As  metals  are  purified  by  fire  from  their  dross,  so  are  our  souls 
cleansed  of  their  sins  when  penetrated  by  the  fire  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 
Sanctifying  grace  and  mortal  sin  are  incompatible.  The  Holy  Spirit 
dwells  in  all  who  are  free  from  mortal  sin,  and  the  evil  spirit  in 
those  who  are  guilty  of  mortal  sin.  Although  the  grace  of  God  brings 
a  cure  to  the  soul  of  man,  it  does  not  cure  the  body;  in  his  fle=?h  is  left 
the  remains  of  sin,  or  concupiscence.  Thus  in  great  saints  even, 
there  remains  the  inclination  to  evil  against  which  must  be  waged  a 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  213 

lifelong  struggle.  Hence  the  words  of  St.  Paul :  "  I  know  that  there 
dwelleth  not  in  me,  that  is  to  say,  in  my  flesh,  that  which  is  good  " 
(Rom.  vii.  18).  "Concupiscence,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "may  be  les 
sened  in  this  life  but  not  destroyed."  It  remains  with  us  as  an  object 
lesson  of  the  deadly  effects  of  sin,  and  to  give  occasion,  by  our  resist 
ance  to  it,  of  gaining  merit  in  heaven. 

2.  He  unites  us  to  God  and  makes  us  into  temples  of  God. 

He  who  has  the  Holy  Spirit  is  united  with  Christ,  like  the 
branches  with  the  vine  (John  xv.  5).  In  the  words  of  St.  Gregory 
Nazianzen,  our  nature  is  united  with  God  by  the  virtue  of  the  Holy 
Ghost,  like  a  drop  of  water  poured  into  a  measure  of  wine ;  it  acquires 
the  color,  the  taste,  and  the  smell  of  the  wine.  The  Holy  Spirit 
makes  us  sharers  of  the  divine  nature  (2  Pet.  i.  4).  "By  the  action 
of  the  Holy  Spirit,"  says  St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  "  we  are  transformed 
into  gods  " ;  and  St.  Maximus :  "  The  Godhead  is  conferred  on  us  with 
grace,"  and  "  As  iron  glows  when  heated  in  the  fire,  so  is  man 
changed  by  the  Holy  Spirit  into  the  Godhead"  (St.  Basil;  St. 
Thomas  Aquinas).  Hence  men  are  often  called  gods  (John  x.  34; 
PP.  Ixxxi.  6).  Lucifer  and  the  first  man  wished  to  be  as  God,  but 
independently  of  Him.  God  wills  that  we  should  strive  to  be  as  He  is, 
but  in  union  with  Him.  The  presence  of  the  Holy  Ghost  makes  us 
temples  of  God.  "  The  Holy  Spirit,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  dwells 
primarily  in  the  soul,  and  gives  it  its  true  life ;  and  since  the  soul  is 
in  the  body,  the  Holy  Ghost  dwells  therefore  in  our  bodies."  St. 
Paul  insists  on  this  point :  "  Know  you  not  that  you  are  the  temple  of 
God,  and  the  Spirit  of  God  dwelleth  in  you  ?  "  (1  Cor.  iii.  16)  ; 
"  You  are  the  temple  of  the  living  God  "  (2  Cor.  vi.  16).  In  the  Our 
Father  we  say  "  Our  Father,  Who  art  in  heaven " ;  "  the  heaven," 
says  St.  Augustine,  "  is  the  just  man  on  earth,  because  God  dwells 
in  him."  Christ  Himself  said  that  the  Father  and  He  would  take  up 
their  abode  with  the  man  who  loves  Christ  (John  xiv.  23). 

3.  He  illumines  the  mind,  and  makes  the  divine  and  moral 
precepts  possible. 

He  strengthens  our  faculties  of  the  intellect  and  will,  just  as  a  ray 
of  sunlight  passing  through  a  crystal  turns  it  into  a  mass  of  light. 
More  especially  does  He  give  the  light  of  faith  (2  Cor.  iv.  6),  and 
kindle  the  fire  of  divine  love  (Rom.  v.  5).  In  short  He  gives  the  three 
theological  virtues  (Council  of  Trent,  6,  7).  He  also  makes  us  able 
and  willing  to  co-operate  with  the  inspirations  of  the  Holy  Spirit; 
that  is,  He  gives  us  the  seven  gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  Just  as  iron 
softens  in  the  fire,  so  the  soul  of  man  under  the  influence  of  the 
Holy  Spirit  is  inclined  to  good  works ;  this  we  see  exemplified  in  St. 
Paul,  for  hardly  had  the  Holy  Ghost  acted  upon  him  when  he  asks: 
"Lord,  what  wilt  Thou  that  I  do  ? "  (Acts  ix.  6.)  Through  this  in 
clination  of  the  will  towards  what  is  good,  the  moral  virtues  are  pres 
ent  as  possibilities;  practice  is  all  that  is  required  to  make  them 
facts.  Thus  the  whole  spiritual  life  is  changed,  and  we  see  how  far 
apart  is  the  inner  life  of  a  saint  and  that  of  a  worldling.  The  latter 
thinks  only  of  his  own  satisfaction  in  eating,  drinking,  the  pursuit  of 
ambition  and  pleasure;  in  short,  he  loves  the  world.  The  man  in 

214  Faith. 

whom  the  Holy  Spirit  dwells,  directs  his  thoughts  for  the  most  part 
to  God  and  tries  to  please  Him;  that  is,  he  loves  God.  He  can  say 
with  St.  Paul,  "  I  live,  now  not  I ;  but  Christ  liveth  in  me  "  (Gal.  ii. 
20).  Such  a  man  despises  the  things  of  this  world,  and  whatever  be 
his  sufferings  he  enjoys  peace  from  within  and  unspeakable  consola 
tion;  for  the  Holy  Ghost  is  the  Comforter  (John  xiv.  26). 

4.  He  gives  us  true  peace. 

Through  Him  man  acquires  the  peace  which  surpasses  all  under 
standing  (Phil.  iv.  7).  The  man  who  has  the  light  of  the  Holy 
Ghost  in  him  is  like  a  traveller  performing  his  journey  in  sunshine 
and  fair  weather;  quite  otherwise  is  the  case  of  him  from  whom 
that  light  is  cut  off  by  the  clouds  of  sin ;  he  is  like  the  unwilling 
traveller,  forced  to  make  his  way  through  wind  and  storm. 

5.  He  becomes  our  Teacher  and  Guide. 

He  instructs  us  in  the  teachings  of  the  Catholic  Church.  The 
unction  which  we  have  received  from  Him  teacheth  us  of  all  things 
(1  John  ii.  27).  Whoever  has  not  the  Holy  Ghost  may  indeed  study 
the  truths  of  the  Christian  religion,  but  their  significance  escapes 
him;  it  is  an  unfruitful  knowledge.  Just  as  a  book  cannot  be  read 
in  the  dark  without  the  help  of  a  light,  so  the  Word  of  God  is  unintel 
ligible  without  light  from  the  Holy  Ghost.  Though  it  is  quite  true 
that  whatever  the  Holy  Ghost  imparts  to  us  is  free  from  error,  yet 
we  require  to  be  certain  that  what  we  have  received  is  indeed 
imparted  by  the  Holy  Spirit.  Hence,  no  matter  what  a  man's  lights 
may  be,  he  must  keep  fast  hold  of  the  teaching  of  the  Church;  and 
whoever  fails  to  do  this  has  not  the  Holy  Spirit  in  him  (1  John  iv. 
6).  The  Holy  Ghost  is  our  Guide,  "  leading  us,"  says  Louis  of  Gran 
ada,  "  as  a  father  who  leads  his  child  by  the  hand  over  a  difficult 
path."  Those  who  are  in  the  grace  of  God  are  led  in  a  special 
manner.  Such  can  say :  "  No  longer  do  I  live,  but  Christ  lives  in  me." 
It  is  in  this  manner  that  the  just  have  the  kingdom  of  God  within 
them  (Luke  xvii.  21). 

6.  He  inspires  us  to  do  good  works  and  makes  them  meri 
torious  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

Just  as  the  Holy  Spirit  brooded  over  the  waters  of  the  deep,  and 
created  plants,  animals,  and  men,  so  too  does  He  hover  over  the  souls 
of  men,  bringing  forth  fruits  that  are  to  last  forever.  As  the  flower 
expands  when  touched  by  the  sun,  so  is  the  heart  of  the  most  hard 
ened  sinner  expanded  by  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  breathes 
out  the  perfume  of  virtue  and  piety.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  ever  active, 
like  fire,  and  always  inciting  to  good  works.  As  the  wind  keeps  the 
windmill  ever  in  motion,  so  the  Holy  Spirit  is  ever  moving  the  heart 
of  man.  And  He  makes  our  actions  meritorious.  As  the  soul  raises 
our  ordinary  and  merely  animal  operations  to  the  level  of  rational 
and  intellectual  acts,  so  the  Holy  Ghost  elevates  the  acts  of  our  soul 
to  a  supernatural  and  divine  plane.  The  Holy  Ghost  is,  as  it  were, 
the  gardener  of  our  souls.  A  gardener  grafts  a  good  branch  on  to 
an  uncultivated  stork,  which  then  brings  forth  sweet  fruit,  in  place  of 
its  former  sour  and  poor  fruit;  so  the  Holy  Ghost  engrafts  upon  us. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  215 

a  branch  from  Christ,  the  tree  of  life,  and  we  bear  no  longer  our 
merely  natural  fruit,  but  supernatural.  When  we  are  in  the  state 
of  grace,  we  are  the  branches  united  with  the  vine,  Jesus  Christ 
(John  xv.  4).  Good  works  done  in  the  state  of  mortal  sin  obtain  for 
us  only  actual  graces  to  help  towards  our  conversion. 

7.  He  makes  us  children  of  God  and  heirs  of  heaven. 

When  the  Holy  Ghost  enters  our  souls  it  is  with  us  as  with  Christ 
at  His  baptism,  when  the  Holy  Spirit  descended  upon  Him;  God 
the  Father  receives  us  as  His  well-beloved  children,  and  the  heavens 
are  opened  to  us;  we  have  no  longer  the  spirit  of  slavery,  but  the 
spirit  of  adoption  of  sons  whereby  we  cry  "  Abba,  Father "  (Rom. 
viii.  15).  All  who  are  led  by  the  Spirit  of  God  are  the  sons  of  God 
(Rom.  viii.  14).  If  we  are  sons  of  God,  we  are  also  heirs :  heirs  indeed 
of  God,  joint  heirs  with  Christ  (Rom.  viii.  17),  for  children  have  a 
claim  to  their  heritage  from  their  parents.  "  We  know  if  our  earthly 
house  of  this  habitation  be  dissolved  that  we  have  a  building  of  God, 
a  house  not  made  with  hands,  eternal  in  heaven"  (2  Cor.  v.  1).  The 
Holy  Spirit  will  remain  with  us  forever  (John  xiv.  16).  "To  be 
numbered  among  the  sons  of  God,"  says  St.  Cyprian,  "  is  the  highest 
nobility."  Such  is  man's  privilege  when  in  the  state  of  grace,  but 
like  the  uncut  diamond,  all  the  glory  of  his  soul  is  not  yet  visible. 
Well  might  David  cry  out :  "  Be  glad  in  the  Lord,  and  rejoice,  ye 
just "  (Ps.  xxxi.  11).  He  who  has  the  Holy  Spirit  has  the  greatest  of 
kingdoms,  the  kingdom  of  God  in  himself  (Luke  xvii.  21).  Alas  ! 
that  so  many  men  should  neglect  this,  their  privilege,  and  give  them 
selves  up  to  the  lusts  of  their  flesh,  the  food  of  worms. 

4.  Sanctifying  grace  is  secured  and  increased  by  doing  good 
works  and  using  the  means  of  grace  offered  by  the  Church;  it  is 
lost  by  a  single  mortal  sin. 

Sanctifying  grace  can  always  be  increased  in  the  soul :  "  He  that 
is  just  let  him  be  justified  still;  and  he  that  is  holy,  let  him  be 
sanctified  still"  (Apoc.  xxii.  11).  By  good  works  the  sanctifying 
grace  which  we  have  received  may  be  confirmed  and  increased  in  us 
(Council  of  Trent,  6,  26).  Thus,  for  example,  St.  Stephen  was  a 
man  "full  of  the  Holy  Spirit "  (Acts  vi.  5).  Stones  and  weeds  pre 
vent  the  sun  from  reaching  the  earth  and  giving  it  increase;  so  do 
our  sins  hinder  the  Holy  Ghost  from  acting  on  our  souls;  hence  they 
must  be  removed  by  the  sacraments  of  confession  and  communion; 
and  as  the  soil  must  be  prepared,  so  must  our  souls  be  nourished  with 
the  teaching  of  Christ  in  order  to  receive  the  action  of  the  Holy 
Ghost.  This  was  the  case  even  with  the  apostles.  One  mortal  sin 
is  enough  to  rob  us  of  sanctifying  grace,  for  it  is  by  mortal  sin  only 
that  the  soul  is  separated  entirely  from  God.  "  God  never  deserts 
him  who  has  once  been  sanctified  by  His  grace,  unless  He  Himself 
be  first  deserted."  Hence  the  warning  of  the  Apostle :  "  Extinguish 
not  the  Spirit"  (1  Thess.  v.  19).  In  the  instant  of  committing 
mortal  sin,  storm  clouds  arise  between  God,  the  Sun  of  justice,  and 
our  souls,  the  brightness  of  which  is  at  once  extinguished.  With  the 
departure  of  the  Holy  Ghost  are  united  the  darkening  of  the  under 
standing  and  the  weakening  of  the  will.  "  When  the  sun  goes  down," 

216  Faith. 

says  Louis  of  Granada,  "  the  eye  is  darkened  and  can  no  longer  make 
out  objects.  So  when  the  light  of  the  Holy  Ghost  is  taken  from  the 
soul,  it  is  filled  with  darkness,  and  loses  the  knowledge  of  the  truth." 
Whoever  has  lost  sanctifying  grace  can  recover  it  by  means  of  the 
Sacrament  of  Penance,  but  not  without  an  earnest  effort;  for  the 
wicked  spirit  has  entered  into  such  a  man  and  has  taken  with  him 
seven  more  spirits  more  wicked  than  himself  (Matt.  xii.  45).  It  is 
impossible  for  those  who  were  once  illuminated  and  are  fallen  away 
to  be  renewed  again  to  penance  (Heb.  vi.  4-6). 

5.  He  who  has  not  sanctifying  grace  is  spiritually  dead  and 
will  suffer  eternal  ruin. 

St.  Augustine  says  that  as  the  body  without  the  soul  is  dead,  so 
the  soul  without  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Spirit  is  dead  for  heaven. 
He  who  has  not  the  Holy  Ghost  sits  "  in  darkness  and  in  the 
shadow  of  death  "  (Luke  i.  79)  ;  he  cannot  understand  the  things  of 
the  Spirit,  for  they  are  to  him  foolishness  (1  Cor.  ii.  14).  He  who  has 
not  on  the  wedding-garment,  that  is,  sanctifying  grace,  is  cast  into 
outer  darkness  (Matt.  xxii.  12).  And  as  the  branch  which  is  not 
united  to  the  vine  withers  and  is  cast  into  the  fire,  so  is  he  cast  off 
who  does  not  remain  united  to  Christ  by  His  grace  (John  xv.  6).  If 
any  man  have  not  the  spirit  of  Christ,  he  is  not  of  Christ  (Rom. 
viii.  9). 

6.  No  one  knows  for  certain  whether  he  have  sanctifying 
grace  or  will  receive  it  at  the  hour  of  death. 

Man  knows  not  whether  he  is  worthy  of  love  or  hatred  (Eccles.  ix. 
1).  Even  St.  Paul  says  of  himself:  "  I  am  not  conscious  to  myself  of 
anything,  yet  am  I  not  hereby  justified"  (1  Cor.  iv.  4).  Solomon 
even  became  an  idolater  before  his  death;  and  St.  Bernard  warns 
us :  "  Even  if  a  man  have  the  light  of  grace  and  the  love  of  God,  let 
him  remember  that  he  is  still  under  the  open  sky  and  not  in  the 
house,  and  that  a  breeze  may  put  out  this  holy  light  forever."  "  We 
carry  our  treasure  in  earthen  vessels"  (2  Cor.  iv.  7),  and  in  the 
words  of  Theophylact,  "  Our  hearts  are  like  earthen  vessels,  easily 
broken  and  prone  to  spill  the  water  in  them;  so  may  the  Holy  Spirit 
be  lost  by  one  sin."  No  wonder  St.  Paul  warns  us :  "  Work  out  your 
salvation  in  fear  and  trembling  "  (Phil.  ii.  12).  We  may  indeed  have 
confidence  that  we  are  in  the  grace  of  God,  but  without  a  special 
revelation  we  cannot  have  absolute  certainty  (Council  of  Trent,  6,  6). 
It  may  be  surmised  from  the  good  works  which  a  man  does  that  he 
is  in  the  grace  of  God,  for  an  evil  tree  cannot  bring  forth  good  fruit 
(Matt.  vii.  18). 

The  Seven  Gifts  of  the  Holy  Ghost  and  the  Extraordinary 


1.  The  Holy  Ghost  gives  to  all  who  have  sanctifying  grace 
the  seven  gifts  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  that  is,  seven  virtues  of  the 
soul,  by  which  it  easily  responds  to  His  light  and  inspirations. 

The  light  of  the  sun  is  split  up  into  seven  distinct  colors,  and 
the  seven-branched  candlestick  in  the  Temple  was  a  type  of  the  seven 

Ttie  Apostles'  Creed.  217 

gifts.  These  seven  gifts  embrace  the  four  cardinal  virtues.  They 
remove  entirely  the  barriers  which  divide  us  from  God,  especially  by 
subjecting  our  concupiscence  to  the  dictates  of  reason  (St.  Thomas 
Aquinas).  The  seven  gifts  give  us  a  definite  movement  towards  God; 
they  perfect  the  powers  of  our  souls,  so  that  the  Holy  Ghost  can 
easily  move  them.  Just  as  teaching  in  the  elementary  school  prepares 
the  scholar  for  higher  forms  of  instruction,  so  the  seven  gifts  pre 
pare  the  soul  for  the  higher  influence  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  The  three 
theological  virtues  are  higher  than  the  seven  gifts,  because  the  latter 
only  give  us  a  movement  towards  God,  while  the  former  unite  us 
intimately  with  Him.  These  gifts  are  lost  by  mortal  sin,  but  are 
increased  as  one  advances  in  perfection.  Confirmation  also  increases 
these  gifts. 

The  seven  gifts  of  the  Holy  Spirit  are  :  Wisdom,  under 
standing,  knowledge,  counsel,  fortitude,  piety,  and  the  fear  of 

The  first  four  enlighten  the  understanding,  the  others  strengthen 
the  will.  These  gifts  are  enumerated  by  Isaias  as  belonging  to  the 
Redeemer  of  mankind  (Is.  xi.  2). 

1.  The  gift  of  wisdom  enables  us  to  recognize  the  emptiness 
of  earthly  things,  and  to  regard  God  as  the  highest  good. 

St.  Paul  counts  all  that  the  world  loves  and  admires  for  loss 
(Phil.  iii.  8).  Solomon,  after  tasting  of  the  joys  of  this  world  calls 
them  "vanities"  (Eccles.  i.  2).  St.  Ignatius  of  Loyola  used  often 
to  exclaim  :  "  Oh  !  how  poor  are  the  things  of  earth  when  I  look  at  the 
heavens."  Compare,  too,  the  prayer  of  St.  Francis  of  Assisi,  "  My 
and  my  all." 

2.  The   gift    of   understanding    enables    us    to    distinguish 
Catholic  teaching  from  all  other  doctrine,  and  to  rest  in  it. 

Blessed  Clement  Hofbauer,  the  apostle  of  Vienna  (A.D.  1820), 
though  he  began  his  studies  very  late  in  life,  and  had  only  just 
enough  knowledge  of  theology  to  be  ordained,  was  often  consulted 
by  the  dignitaries  of  the  Church  on  the  accuracy  of  the  doctrine 
taught  in  the  books  passing  through  the  press.  A  very  short  exam 
ination  enabled  him  to  detect  at  once  what  was  unsound.  St.  Cath 
arine  of  Alexandria  (A.D.  307),  reduced  some  fifty  pagan  doctors  to 
silence,  and  made  them  into  Christians.  Our  Lord's  own  promise 
was  :  "  I  will  give  you  a  mouth  and  wisdom  which  all  your  adver 
saries  shall  not  be  able  to  resist  and  gainsay"  (Luke  xxi.  15). 

3.  The  gift  of  knowledge  enables  us  to  obtain  a  clear  grasp 
of  the  teaching  of  the  Catholic  Church  without  special  study. 

The  Cure  of  Ars  had  done  but  little  study,  yet  his  sermons  were 
riO  remarkable  that  even  bishops  were  eager  to  hear  them,  and  mar 
velled  at  his  knowledge.  St.  Thomas  Aquinas  used  to  say  that  he 
learned  more  at  the  foot  of  the  altar  than  out  of  books;  and  St. 
Ignatius  of  Loyola  declared  that  he  had  learned  more  in  the  cave  at 
Manresa  than  all  the  doctors  in  the  world  could  teach  him.  How  did 

218  Faith. 

the  old  man  Simeon  know  that  the  child  in  the  Temple  was  the 
Messias  (Luke  ii.  34)  ?  Were  not  the  apostles,  after  the  coming  of 
the  Holy  Ghost,  "  endowed  with  power  from  on  high  "  (Luke  xxiv. 
49)  ?  Was  not  St.  Paul  rapt  into  paradise  to  hear  words  such  as 
no  man  had  heard  (2  Cor.  xii.  4)  ? 

4.  The  gift  of  counsel  enables  us  to  know  under  difficult 
circumstances  what  the  will  of  God  is. 

We  might  recall  the  answer  made  by  Christ  to  the  question 
whether  tribute  should  be  paid  to  Csesar  (Matt.  xxii.  21),  and  the 
judgment  of  Solomon  (3  Kings  iii.).  Our  Lord,  when  warning  the 
apostles  of  the  persecutions  awaiting  them,  had  said,  "  Be  not  solic 
itous  how  you  shall  answer  or  what  you  shall  say ;  for  the  Holy  Ghost 
shall  teach  you  in  the  same  hour  what  you  must  say"  (Luke  xii. 
11,  12). 

5.  The  gift  of  fortitude  enables  us  to  bear  courageously 
whatever  is  necessary  in  carrying  out  God's  will. 

St.  John  JSTepomucene  (1393)  chose  rather  to  be  imprisoned,  tor 
tured  with  hot  irons,  and  finally  cast  into  the  Moldau,  rather  than 
betray  the  secret  of  the  confessional.  Job  was  patient  in  spite  of  the 
loss  of  his  property,  his  children,  and  his  health,  and  in  spite  of  the 
mockery  of  his  wife  and  friends.  Abraham  was  ready  to  sacrifice 
his  only  son.  The  gift  of  fortitude  is  especially  prominent  in  the 
holy  martyrs,  and  most  of  all  in  Our  Lady,  the  Queen  of  martyrs, 
"  She  herself,"  says  St.  Alphonsus,  "  would  have  nailed  her  Son  to  the 
cross  had  such  been  God's  will;  for  she  possessed  the  gift  of  forti 
tude  in  a  higher  degree  than  Abraham." 

6.  The  gift  of  piety  enables  us  to  make  continual  efforts  to 
honor  God  more  and  more  in  our  hearts,  and  to  carry  out  His 
will  more  perfectly. 

St.  Teresa  took  a  vow  always  to  choose  what  was  most  perfect,  and 
St.  Alphonsus  never  to  waste  time.  St.  Aloysius  would  spend  hours 
in  presence  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament,  till  his  confessor  had  to  com 
mand  him  to  shorten  his  devotions.  Many  of  the  saints  used  to  melt 
into  tears  during  their  prayer  or  in  meditating  on  heavenly  subjects. 

7.  The  gift  of  the  fear  of  God  enables  us  to  fear  giving 
offence  to  God  more  than  all  the  evils  in  the  world. 

Such  was  the  gift,  for  instance,  of  the  three  children  in  the  fur 
nace,  and  of  all  the  martyrs.  It  enables  us  to  overcome  the  fear  of 
man  and  human  respect. 

2.  The  Holy  Ghost  gives  to  many  graces  of  a  rarer  kind;  for 
instance,  the  gift  of  tongues,  of  miracles,  of  prophecy,  of  dis 
cernment  of  spirits,  of  visions,  of  ecstasies,  etc. 

The  apostles  received  on  the  feast  of  Pentecost  the  gift  of 
tongues,  and  we  find  it  recorded  also  in  the  life  of  St.  Francis  Xavier, 
as  having  been  possessed  by  him.  The  prophets  of  the  Old  Law  fore 
told  future  events.  St.  Peter  knew  the  thoughts  of  Ananias.  St. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  21§ 

Catharine  of  Sienna  after  communion  used  to  be  raised  in  the  air 
and  rapt  out  of  her  senses.  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  received  the  stig 
mata,  or  impression  on  his  body  of  the  sacred  wounds  of  Our  Lord. 
Instances  of  all  these  gifts  occur  again  and  again  in  the  lives  of  the 
saints,  and  are,  after  all,  only  the  fulfilment  of  the  promise  of  Our 
Lord  in  Mark  xvi.  17,  18.  These  graces  are  conferred  by  the  Holy 
Ghost  on  whom  He  will  (1  Cor.  xii.  11).  Louis  of  Granada  beauti 
fully  expresses  it :  "  As  the  sun  shines  on  the  flowers,  and  brings  out 
their  various  perfumes,  so  does  the  light  of  the  Holy  Spirit  fall  on 
pious  souls,  according  to  their  peculiarities,  and  develops  in  them  His 
graces  and  gifts." 

These  extraordinary  graces  are  conferred  by  the  Holy  Ghost 
generally  for  the  benefit  of  others  and  in  aid  of  His  Church. 

The  time  of  the  apostles  was  conspicuous  for  extraordinary  gifts 
(1  Cor.  xii.-xiv.).  "  God  is  like  a  gardener,"  says  St.  Gregory  the 
Great,  "  who  waters  the  flowers  only  while  they  are  young."  Extraor 
dinary  graces  ought  to  be  used  with  due  discretion  for  the  benefit 
of  others  (1  Cor.  xiv.  12).  In  the  words  of  St.  Irenseus,  "  A  merchant 
does  not  leave  his  money  idle  in  his  chests,  but  he  makes  the  best  use 
he  can  of  it  in  business;  so  God's  will  is  that  His  graces  should  not 
be  left  unemployed,  but  that  men  should  make  good  use  of  them." 
These  extraordinary  gifts  of  themselves  do  not  make  men  better. 
They  are  indeed  great  graces,  available  for  great  good,  and  are  the 
free  gift  of  God,  like  riches,  health,  etc.  Hence  the  words  of  St. 
Teresa :  "  Not  for  all  the  goods  and  joys  of  this  world  would  I  give  up 
a  single  one  of  the  graces  given  me ;  I  esteemed  them  always  as  a  sin 
gular  gift  of  God  and  a  very  great  treasure."  It  is  the  right  use 
of  these  gifts,  and  not  the  gifts  themselves,  which  make  them  of  serv 
ice  to  man.  St.  Fulgentius  writes :  "  One  may  have  the  gift  of  mir 
acles,  and  yet  lose  his  soul.  Miracles  give  no  certainty  of  one's 
salvation."  Nor  are  these  extraordinary  graces  a  sign  of  holiness  in 
the  possessor  of  them;  Our  Lord's  own  words  convey  this  in  Matthew 
vii.  22.  Yet  there  is  no  saint  of  the  Church  who  has  not  had  these 
gifts.  Benedict  XIV.  says :  "  They  are,  as  a  rule,  given  not  to  sinners 
but  to  the  just.  When  they  are  found  in  union  with  heroic  virtue  in  a 
man,  they  are  a  strong  proof  of  his  sanctity."  These  gifts  are  usually 
accompanied  by  great  sufferings,  such  as  desolation  of  spirit,  strug 
gles  with  the  devil,  sickness,  persecutions,  etc. 

3.  The  gifts  of  the  Holy  Spirit  were  conspicuous  in  a  special 
degree  in  Jesus  Christ  (Acts  x.  38),  His  holy  Mother,  the  apostles, 
the  patriarchs  and  prophets  of  the  Old  Law,  and  all  the  saints  of 
the  Catholic  Church. 

The  Holy  Ghost  as  Guide  of  the  Church. 
The  Holy  Ghost  maintains  and  guides  the  Catholic  Church. 

As  the  soul  is  to  the  body,  so  is  the  Holy  Ghost  to  the  Catholic 
Church,  and,  like  the  soul,  His  action  is  invisible.  He  is  the  Archi 
tect  of  the  Church;  His  action  produced  the  Incarnation  (Luke  i. 
35) ;  He  exercised  His  powers  through  the  humanity  of  Christ  (Luke 

220  Faith. 

iv.  18 ;  Acts  x.  38)  ;  He  perfects  the  Church  founded  by  the  Redeemer 
(Eph.  ii.  20-22). 

1.  The  Holy  Spirit  secures  the  Catholic  Church  from  de 
struction  (Matt.  xvi.  18),  and  preserves  it  from  error  (John  xiv. 

2.  The  Holy  Ghost  supports  the  rulers  of  the  Church  in  the 
duties  of  their  office  (Acts  xx.  28),  and  especially  the  Vicar  of 
Christ,  the  Pope. 

The  Holy  Ghost  gives  to  them  what  they  shall  say  (Matt.  x.  19). 
He  speaks  through  them  as  on  Pentecost  He  spoke  through  the 
apostles  (Matt.  x.  20).  In  the  words  of  St.  Basil:  "As  the  pen 
writes  what  the  writer  wishes,  so  the  preacher  of  the  Gospel  speaks 
nothing  of  his  own  but  what  the  Holy  Spirit  gives  to  him." 

3.  The  Holy  Ghost  raises  up  in  times  of  danger  for  the 
Church  able  champions  of  her  cause. 

For  example  St.  Athanasius  (A.D.  373)  in  the  time  of  the  Arians ; 
the  holy  Pope  Gregory  VII.  (A.D.  1085)  when  the  Church  was  in  gen 
eral  disorder;  St.  Dominic  (A.D.  1221)  at  the  time  of  the  Albigenses; 
St.  Catharine  of  Sienna  (A.D.  1380),  at  the  time  of  the  great  Papal 
schism;  St.  Ignatius  of  Loyola  (A.D.  1556)  at  the  time  of  Luther. 

4.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  the  cause  that  there  are  so  many  saints 
in  the  Church  in  all  ages. 

Almost  every  year  new  saints  are  canonized  in  Rome. 


The  Holy  Ghost  has  appeared  under  the  form  of  a  dove,  of 
fire,  and  of  tongues,  to  signify  His  office  in  the  Church. 

"  The  Holy  Ghost,"  says  St.  Gregory  the  Great,  "  appeared  in  the 
form  of  a  dove  and  of  fire,  because  His  work  is  done  gently  and  zeal 
ously,  and  whoever  is  wanting  in  gentleness  and  zeal  is  not  under  His 
influence.  He  appeared  in  the  form  of  tongues,  because  He  gives  to 
man  the  gift  of  speech,  by  which  he  may  inflame  others  to  the  love  of 
God."  The  Holy  Ghost  appeared  under  the  form  of  fire,  because  He 
consumes  the  dross  of  our  sins,  drives  the  darkness  of  ignorance  out 
of  our  souls,  melts  the  icy  coldness  of  our  hearts,  and  inflames  us  with 
love  of  God  and  of  our  neighbor,  and  because  He  hardens  and 
strengthens  the  heart  of  man  whom  He  has  made  from  the  clay  of  the 
earth.  "  Our  God  is  a  consuming  fire  "  (Heb.  xii.  29.) 

Tlie  Apostles'  Creed.  221 




1.  The  Catholic  Church  is  a  visible  institution,  founded  by 
Christ,  in  which  men  are  trained  for  heaven. 

The  Church  may  be  compared  with  a  school ;  the  latter  prepares  its 
pupils  to  become  good  citizens  of  the  State,  the  former  trains  up 
citizens  of  heaven.  And  just  as  a  school  has  its  head  master,  its  staff 
of  teachers,  its  pupils,  along  with  its  regulations  for  discipline,  and 
appliances  of  education,  so  is  the  Church  provided.  It  has  a  visible 
head,  the  visible  ceremony  of  Baptism  by  which  members  are  re 
ceived,  and  a  visible  formula  of  belief.  Hence  Christ  compares  the 
Church  with  visible  objects,  with  a  city  placed  on  a  mountain,  with 
a  light  on  a  candlestick;  it  is  also  called  a  body  (Eph.  i.  22),  the  house 
of  God  (1  Tim.  iii.  15),  a  holy  city  (Apoc.  xxi.  10).  Wherever 
Catholic  priests  and  Catholics  are  to  be  found,  there  is  the  Catholic 
Church.  Two  classes  of  people  maintain  that  the  Church  is  not 
visible:  heretics,  who  have  been  cut  off  from  it  yet  would  gladly 
belong  to  the  Church,  and  free  thinkers,  who  wish  to  shirk  the  obliga 
tion  of  obeying  a  visible  Church.  The  expression  "  Catholic  Church  " 
does  not  imply  a  mere  building  of  stone  or  wood,  though  the  com 
parison  is  frequently  made  in  the  Scriptures  (Eph.  ii.  21),  the 
Church  having  a  living  corner-stone,  Christ  (Ps.  cxvii.  22)  Who 
binds  the  faithful  into  one  divine  family,  and  the  foundation-stones 
of  the  apostles  (Apoc.  xxi.  14),  the  faithful  being  the  stones  of  the 
edifice  (1  Pet.  ii.  5).  Nor  by  "  Catholic  Church  "  do  we  mean  "  Cath 
olic  religion ; "  the  Church  is  to  the  religion  as  the  body  to  the 

The  Catholic  Church  is  often  called  the  "  kingdom  of 
heaven/'  "  kingdom  of  God,"  "  community  of  the  faithful." 

John  the  Baptist  and  Christ  Himself  announced  that  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  was  at  hand  (Matt.  iii.  2;  iv.  17).  The  parables  on  the 
kingdom  of  heaven  bring  out  the  various  features  of  the  Church. 
The  gradation  of  offices  in  the  Church — (Pope,  cardinals,  bishops, 
priests,  ordinary  Christians),  is  very  suggestive  of  a  kingdom,  in 
which  the  aim  is  to  lead  men  to  heaven.  "  The  Church  is  the  people 
of  God  scattered  through  the  world,"  says  St.  Augustine;  or  in  the 
words  of  St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  the  community  of  the  faithful.  Our 
Lord  compares  it  with  a  fold  where  He  wishes  to  keep  all  His  sheep. 

The  Church  is  very  properly  called  the  "  Mother  of  Chris 
tians,"  because  she  gives  to  men  the  true  life  of  the  soul,  and 
because  she  trains  her  members  as  a  mother  brings  up  her 

The  Church  confers  in  Baptism  the  gift  of  sanctifying  grace, 
the  true  life  of  the  soul,  for  this  grace  gives  a  claim  to  heaven.  As 

222  Faith. 

the  father  who  goes  away  on  a  journey  leaves  all  his  power  in  the 
hands  of  the  mother,  so  Christ,  in  leaving  this  earth,  gave  His  Church 
full  power  (John  xx.  21).  "  We  should  love  God  as  Our  Father," 
says  St.  Augustine,  "  and  the  Church  as  our  Mother."  "  If  we  love 
our  native  land  so  dearly,"  says  Leo  XIII.,  "  because  we  were  born 
and  bred  there,  and  are  ready  even  to  die  for  it,  how  much  deeper 
should  be  our  love  for  the  Church,  which  has  given  us  the  life  which 
has  no  end." 

2.  The  Church  prepares  man  for  heaven  by  carrying  out  the 
threefold  office  which  Christ  conferred  upon  her;    the  office  of 
teacher,  of  priest,  and  of  shepherd. 

The  Church  teaches  the  doctrine  of  Christ,  ministers  the  means  of 
grace  appointed  by  Christ,  and  is  a  guide  and  shepherd  to  the  faith 
ful.  The  teaching  is  carried  on  by  sermons ;  the  means  of  grace  con 
sist  in  the  holy  sacrifice  of  the  Mass,  the  sacraments,  blessings,  and 
the  holding  of  special  devotions;  the  guidance  consists  in  the  laying 
down  of  certain  precepts,  e.g.,  the  commandments  of  the  Church, 
and  the  prohibition  of  what  is  sinful  or  dangerous,  e.g.,  the  reading 
of  bad  books. 

This  triple  office  was  first  exercised  by   Christ,   and  then 
passed  on  to  the  apostles  and  their  successors. 

Christ  used  to  preach,  as  we  see  in  the  sermon  on  the  mount.  He 
dispensed  the  means  of  grace,  forgiving  Magdalen  her  sins,  giving 
His  body  and  blood  to  the  apostles  at  the  Last  Supper,  blessing  the 
little  children.  Christ  was  the  Guide  of  men.  He  gave  command 
ments,  sent  the  apostles  on  missions,  instructed  them,  and  reproved 
the  tyranny  of  the  Pharisees,  etc.  He  gave  the  apostles  commission 
(1),  to  teach  all  nations  (Matt,  xxviii.  19),  and  also  (2),  to  exercise 
the  power  of  the  priesthood,  to  offer  sacrifice  (Luke  xxii.  19),  and  to 
forgive  sins  (John  xx.  23)  ;  (3),  in  addition  the  apostles  received  the 
office  of  pastor,  and  with  it  the  power  of  reproving  and  correcting 
(Matt,  xviii.  17),  and  of  binding  and  loosing,  i.e.,  of  making  and  re 
voking  laws.  The  words  of  Christ  included  the  successors  of  the 
apostles  as  well  as  the  apostles  themselves :  "  I  am  with  you  all  days, 
even  to  the  consummation  of  the  world  "  (Matt,  xxviii.  20). 

3.  The  Lord  and  King  of  the  Church  is  Christ. 

The  prophets  had  foretold  (Ps.  ii.),  that  the  Messias  should  be  a 
great  king,  whose  kingdom  should  last  forever  and  embrace  all  other 
kingdoms.  The  archangel  Gabriel  told  Mary  that  the  Hedeemer 
should  be  a  king  and  His  kingdom  should  be  eternal  (Luke  i.  33). 
Christ  calls  Himself  a  king  to  Pilate,  but  denies  that  His  kingdom 
is  of  this  world  (John  xviii.  36).  Christ  directs  the  Church  through 
the  Holy  Ghost;  hence  He  is  called  the  Head  of  the  Church  (Eph. 
i.  23),  of  which  Christians  form  the  body,  each  one  being  a  member 
of  the  body  (1  Cor.  xii.  27).  He  is  also  called  the  invisible  Head, 
because  He  no  longer  mixes  personally  with  man  on  earth.  On  ac 
count  of  His  love  for  the  Church,  He  is  called  her  Bridegroom,  and 
she  is  called  His  Bride  (Apoc.  xxi.  9).  Christ  compared  Himself  to 
a  bridegroom  on  several  occasions  (Matt.  xxii.).  Like  Jacob,  who 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  223 

served  seven  years  for  Rachel,  Christ  would  serve  many  years  for  His 
Church  (Phil.  ii.  7),  and  even  gave  His  life  for  it  (Eph.  v.  25). 

4.  The  Catholic  Church  consists  of  a  teaching  and  a  hearing 
body.  To  the  former  belong  the  Pope,  bishops,  and  priests;  to  the 
latter  the  faithful. 

The  word  "  Pope "  comes  from  the  Latin  papa,  i.e.,  father ; 
"bishop"  is  from  the  Greek  episcopos,  i.e.,  overseer;  priest  is  from 
the  Greek  word  presbyter,  meaning  "  the  elder."  In  Latin,  priest  is 


The  mainstay  of  the  Church  is  the  Pope.  He  is  the  rock  on  which 
the  Church  rests  (Matt.  xvi.  18) ;  and  hi:  office  secures  the  mainte 
nance  of  unity.  St.  John  Chrysostom  says  that  the  Church  would 
fail  if  it  were  not  for  its  Head,  who  is  the  centre  of  its  unity,  as  a 
ship  would  be  wrecked  if  deprived  of  its  pilot ;  and  St.  Cyprian  adds 
that  the  enemies  of  the  Church  direct  their  attacks  against  its  Head, 
in  the  hope  that  deprived  of  his  guidance  it  may  be  shipwrecked. 
Among  the  Popes  are  counted  no  less  than  forty  martyrs. 

1.  Christ  conferred  on  St.  Peter  the  primacy  over  the  apostles 
and  the  faithful  by  the  command :  "  Feed  My  lambs,  feed  My 
sheep ;  "  by  giving  over  to  him  "  the  keys  of  the  kingdom  of 
heaven,"  and  by  special  marks  of  distinction. 

After  His  resurrection  Christ  appeared  to  the  apostles  on  the  lake 
of  Genesareth,  and  after  the  triple  question  to  Peter  "  Lovest  thou 
Me  ? "  gave  him  the  solemn  precept :  "  Feed  My  lambs ;  [i.e.,  the 
faithful],  .  .  .  feed  My  sheep  [i.e.,  the  apostles]  "  (John  xxi.  15). 
This  office  had  been  promised  to  St.  Peter  before  the  resurrection, 
on  the  occasion  of  his  confession  at  Caesarea  Philippi :  "  Thou  art 
Peter,  and  upon  this  rock  I  will  build  My  Church  and  the  gates  of  hell 
shall  not  prevail  against  it.  And  I  will  give  to  thee  the  keys  of  the 
kingdom  of  heaven.  And  whatsoever  thou  shalt  bind  upon  earth, 
it  shall  be  bound  in  heaven,  and  whatsoever  thou  shalt  loose  upon 
earth  it  shall  be  loosed  also  in  heaven"  (Matt.  xvi.  18,  19).  The 
special  marks  of  distinction  conferred  on  St.  Peter  were  the  follow 
ing  :  Christ  gave  him  a  new  name,  Peter ;  He  chose  him  to  be  with 
Him  on  the  most  solemn  occasions,  as  on  Mount  Thabor  and  in  the 
Garden  of  Olives;  He  appeared  to  St.  Peter  after  His  resurrection 
before  showing  Himself  to  any  of  the  other  apostles  (Luke  xxiv.  34; 
1  Cor.  xv.  5,  etc.). 

St.  Peter  always  acted  as  chief  of  the  apostles  and  was  so 
acknowledged  by  them. 

He  spoke  in  the  name  of  the  other  apostles  on  Pentecost;  he  re 
ceived  into  the  Church  its  first  Jewish  and  Gentile  members;  he 
performed  the  first  miracle ;  it  was  he  who  moved  for  the  choice  of  a 
new  apostle ;  he  defended  the  apostles  before  the  Jewish  tribunal ; 
his  opinion  prevailed  at  the  council  of  the  apostles.  The  apostles  rec 
ognized  his  pre-eminence,  for  the  Evangelists  in  giving  the  list  of  the 

224  Faith. 

apostles  always  place  St.  Peter  first  (Matt.  x.  2 ;  Mark  i.  36 ;  Acts  ii. 
14)  ;  and  St.  Paul,  after  his  conversion,  regarded  it  as  his  duty  to 
present  himself  to  St.  Peter  (Gal.  i.  18;  ii.  2). 

2.  St.  Peter  was  Bishop  of  Rome  for  some  twenty-five  years 
and  died  Bishop  of  Rome ;  and  the  dignity  and  power  of  St.  Peter 
descended  to  the  succeeding  Bishops  of  Rome. 

There  is  a  great  amount  of  evidence  for  the  presence  of  St.  Peter 
in  Rome  from  the  year  44  to  69.  St.  Peter  writes  about  the  year  65 : 
"  The  Church  that  is  in  Babylon  .  .  .  saluteth  you ;  and  so  doth 
my  son  Mark"  (1  Pet.  v.  13).  Babylon  was  the  name  given  by  the 
early  Christians  to  Rome,  on  account  of  its  greatness  and  immorality. 
St.  Clement  of  Rome  writes  about  the  year  100 :  "  Peter  and  Paul 
were  with  an  enormous  number  of  the  Christians  martyred  in  Rome." 
Tertullian,  a  priest  of  Carthage,  about  the  year  200,  congratulates  the 
Church  of  Rome,  because  St.  Peter  died  there,  crucified  like  his  Lord, 
and  St.  Paul  died  like  another  John  the  Baptist.  In  addition  the 
grave  of  St.  Peter  was  long  ago  discovered;  his  body  lay  in  a  cata 
comb  under  Nero's  circus ;  the  third  Pope  erected  a  small  chapel  over 
it,  to  be  replaced  by  a  beautiful  edifice  built  by  Constantine  (324)  ; 
when  this  fell  into  disrepair,  the  present  building  of  St.  Peter's  was 
erected,  in  1629. 

The  Bishops  of  Rome  have  always  exercised  supreme  power 
in  the  Church,  and  that  power  has  always  been  acknowledged. 

When  dissensions  arose  in  the  Church  of  Corinth  about  the  year 
100,  the  matter  was  referred  not  to  the  apostle  St.  John  at  Ephesus, 
but  to  the  Bishop  of  Rome,  St.  Clement.  About  the  year  190  the  Pope 
Victor  commanded  the  people  of  Asia  Minor  to  conform  to  the 
Roman  usage  in  the  celebration  of  Easter,  and  those  who  demurred 
were  threatened  with  excommunication,  whereupon  they  yielded. 
About  the  year  250  Pope  Stephen  forbade  the  Bishops  of  North 
Africa  to  rebaptize  those  who  returned  to  the  bosom  of  the  Church, 
and  excommunicated  those  who  resisted.  The  Bishops  of  Rome  had 
the  first  place  in  all  general  councils.  When  heresy  broke  out  the 
Bishop  of  Rome  always  inquired  into  it ;  and  to  him  other  bishops  ap 
pealed  when  unjustly  oppressed;  thus  when  St.  Athanasius  was  de 
posed  by  the  emperor,  the  Pope  reinstated  him.  From  the  earliest 
times  the  titles  "  high  priest "  and  "  bishop  of  bishops  "  have  been 
given  to  the  Bishop  of  Rome.  When,  at  the  Council  of  Chalcedon,  the 
letter  of  Pope  Leo  was  read  to  the  assembled  bishops,  they  cried  out 
with  one  voice :  "  Peter  has  spoken  by  Leo ;  let  him  be  anathema  who 
believes  otherwise."  The  Vatican  Council  declares  that  it  is  the  will 
of  Christ  that  till  the  end  of  the  world  there  be  successors  to  St. 

3.  The  Bishop  of  Rome  is  called  Pope,  or  Holy  Father. 

He  is  also  called,  on  account  of  his  great  dignity,  the  "  holy 
Father,''  "  His  Holiness,"  "Vicar  of  Christ,"  "Father  of 

On  account  of  the  opening  words  of  Christ's  speech  to  St.  Peter 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  225 

"  Blessed  art  thou,"  etc.  (Matt.  xvi.  17)  the  Pope  is  addressed  as 
Beatissime  Pater.  The  office  is  called  the  See  of  Peter,  the  Holy  See, 
or  the  Apostolic  See.  The  chair  of  St.  Peter  is  still  to  be  seen  in 

The  Pope  is  also  called  from  his  see  the  Pope  of  Kome,  and 
the  Church  under  him  the  Roman  Catholic  Church. 

Pope  Leo  XIII.  was  born  at  Carpineto,  in  Italy,  on  March  2,  1810, 
ordained  priest  December  31,  1837,  Archbishop  of  Perugia,  1846,  and 
Pope  February  20,  1878.  To  his  energy  we  owe  the  abolition  of  sla 
very  in  Brazil,  the  campaign  against  it  in  Africa  by  the  European 
nations,  the  repeal  of  many  laws  against  the  Church  in  Germany, 
the  prevention  of  war  between  Germany  and  Spain,  the  founding  of 
over  one  hundred  bishoprics,  especially  among  the  heathen,  etc.  By 
his  encyclicals  he  has  denounced  the  Freemasons,  recommended  in  a 
special  manner  the  Third  Order  of  St.  Francis,  and  the  devotion  of 
the  Rosary,  displayed  his  zeal  for  the  working  classes,  and  exerted 
himself  to  produce  reunion  of  the  various  Christian  communities 
with  the  Catholic  Church,  etc.  He  is  the  two  hundred  and  fifty-ninth 

The  Pope  has  precedence  of  honor  over  all  other  bishops, 
and  also  of  jurisdiction  over  the  whole  Church  (Vatican  Council, 

"  The  Pope,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "  is  the  high  priest,  the  prince 
among  bishops."  The  following  are  some  of  his  prerogatives :  He  as 
sumes  a  new  name  on  his  election,  as  St.  Peter  received  a  new  name 
from  Our  Lord,  to  signify  that  he  is  wholly  devoted  to  his  new  office. 
From  the  tenth  century  onwards  it  has  been  the  custom  to  choose  the 
name  from  those  of  previous  Popes,  St.  Peter's  alone  being  excepted 
out  of  reverence.  He  is  privileged  to  wear  the  tiara,  or  mitre  with 
the  triple  crown,  expressive  of  the  triple  office  of  teacher,  priest,  and 
pastor;  he  has  also  a  crosier  ending  in  a  cross,  and  a  soutane  of  white 
silk.  His  foot  is  kissed  in  memory  of  those  words  of  St.  Paul :  "  How 
beautiful  are  the  feet  of  them  that  preach  the  gospel  of  peace,  of 
them  that  bring  glad  tidings  of  good  things"  (Rom.  x.  15).  He  has 
the  highest  power  in  the  Church  as  "  teacher  of  all  Christians  "  (Vat 
ican  Council)  and  "  chief -shepherd  of  the  shepherds  and  their 
nocks."  He  has  the  most  complete  jurisdiction  in  deciding  questions 
of  faith  and  morals,  and  in  arranging  the  discipline  of  the  universal 
Church.  This  power  extends  over  every  single  church,  and  every 
single  bishop  and  pastor.  He  may  elect  and  depose  bishops,  call 
together  councils,  make  and  unmake  laws,  send  out  missionaries,  con 
fer  privileges  and  dispensations,  and  reserve  sins  to  his  own  tribunal. 
For  the  same  reason  he  may  personally  teach  and  guide  any  of  the 
bishops  or  their  flocks.  He  is  the  supreme  judge  of  all  the  faithful; 
to  him  remains  the  final  appeal.  The  Pope  may  choose  seventy  car 
dinals  to  act  as  his  counsellors ;  they  may  have  the  right  of  choosing 
a  new  Pope  after  the  see  has  been  vacant  for  twelve  days.  Their 
dress  is  a  scarlet  hat  and  mantle,  to  remind  them  of  their  duty  of  loy 
alty  to  the  Pope  at  the  cost  even  of  their  blood.  They  form  the 

226  Faith. 

various  committees  or  congregations,  e.g.,  the  Congregation  of  Rites, 
of  Indulgences,  etc. 

The  Pope  is  quite  independent  of  every  temporal  sover 
eignty  and  of  every  spiritual  power. 

For  many  years  the  Popes  were  temporal  sovereigns,  and  ruled  as 
such  the  States  of  the  Church.  The  growth  of  the  latter  came  about 
in  the  following  manner :  In  the  first  centuries  many  estates  were  be 
stowed  on  the  Popes  as  a  free  gift.  From  the  time  of  Constantine 
the  Great,  the  emperors  lived  away  from  Rome,  and  thus  the  Papacy 
began  to  exercise  a  certain  authority  over  the  city  and  central  Italy. 
In  754  A.D.,  Pepin,  the  Frankish  king,  gave  over  to  the  Pope  the  ter 
ritory  he  had  won  by  the  sword  in  the  neighborhood  of  Rome,  and 
also  some  towns  on  the  eastern  coast  of  Italy.  This  grant  was  con 
firmed  by  Pepin's  son,  Charlemagne,  in  774.  The  Popes  lost  and  re 
gained  these  possessions  some  seventy-seven  times.  In  1859  all  the 
territory  except  Rome  was  torn,  from  the  Pope,  and  in  1870  Rome 
itself,  so  that  now  all  the  Pope  possesses  is  the  Vatican.  This  tem 
poral  sovereignty  was  of  great  advantage  to  the  Church;  it  secured 
the  Pope's  independence  in  the  exercise  of  his  authority,  it  gave  him 
a  status  among  the  powers  of  the  earth,  and  supplied  him  with  funds 
for  carrying  on  the  business  connected  with  the  Church,  besides  in 
suring  liberty  in  the  choice  of  a  Pope.  At  present  he  is  helped  by 
the  alms  of  the  faithful,  called  Peter's  pence.  Though  deprived  of 
his  possessions  the  Pope  is  still  recognized  as  a  sovereign,  even  in 
Italy;  and  he  has  acted  as  arbitrator  between  nations.  Many  will 
remember  his  decision  in  1885  in  the  disputed  claims  of  Spain  and 
Germany  to  the  Caroline  Islands.  He  also  issues  medals,  confers 
orders,  has  the  gold  and  white  standard,  adopted  in  allusion  to  the 
words  of  St.  Peter:  "Silver  and  gold  I  have  none"  (Acts  iii.  6), 
and  has  ambassadors  (legates  and  Nuncios)  at  various  courts,  etc. 
The  Pope  is  supreme  on  earth,  not  being  subject  even  to  a  general 
council  (Eugenius  IV.,  Sept.  4,  1439;  Vatican  Council,  4,  3).  Any 
who  appeal  from  the  Pope  to  a  general  council  are  liable  to  excom 
munication  (Pius  IX.,  October  12,  1869). 

1.  The  bishops  are  the  successors  of  the  apostles. 

This  is  the  express  teaching  of  the  Vatican  Council.  The  bishops 
differ  only  from  the  apostles  in  having  a  limited  jurisdiction,  while 
the  mission  of  the  apostles  was  to  the  whole  world;  moreover  the 
apostles  were  personally  infallible  in  their  teaching,  and  having  an 
extraordinary  mission  they  had  extraordinary  gifts,  such  as  infalli 
bility,  the  gift  of  tongues,  and  miracles. 

The  bishops  have  the  following  powers:  They  guide  that 
portion  of  the  Church  assigned  to  them  by  the  Pope,  and  assist 
him  in  the  government  of  the  universal  Church. 

From  apostolic  times  bishops  were  appointed  to  single  sees,  e.g., 
Titus  to  Crete  (Tit.  i.  5).  These  divisions  of  the  Church  are  called 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  227 

sees  or  dioceses;  some  of  them  are  very  large.  Paris,  for  example, 
contains  more  than  3,000,000  souls.  The  duties  of  a  bishop  are  to 
educate  candidates  for  the  priesthood,  to  create  and  confer  offices  in 
the  Church,  to  gave  faculties  to  confessors,  to  see  to  the  religious  edu 
cation  of  his  flock,  to  revise  books  written  on  religious  subjects,  to 
settle  the  days  of  fasting,  etc.  In  addition  he  confers  the  Sacraments 
of  Confirmation  and  Orders,  reserves  certain  sins  to  his  own  jurisdic 
tion,  consecrates  churches,  chalices,  the  holy  oils,  etc.  Each  bishop 
has  also  the  right  of  voting  in  general  councils. 

The  bishops  are  not  merely  assistants  to  the  Pope,  but  they 
are  actually  guides  of  the  Church. 

They  are  the  shepherds  of  their  respective  flocks  (Vatican  Coun 
cil,  4,  3)  and  are  appointed  by  the  Holy  Ghost  to  rule  the  Church  of 
God  (Acts  xx.  28).  They  are  also  called  "princes  of  the  Church," 
and  since  they  have  ordinary  or  immediate  jurisdiction  they  are  often 
called  "  Ordinaries."  They  are  assisted  by  a  number  of  canons,  who 
make  up  the  body  called  the  chapter;  one  of  these  canons  becomes 
vicar  capitular  if  the  see  becomes  vacant,  and  governs  the  diocese  till 
a  new  bishop  be  elected.  The  bishop  himself  usually  appoints  the 
chapter,  in  rare  instances  the  Pope  or  the  archbishop.  Many  bishops 
have  an  assistant  in  the  form  of  a  coadjutor-bishop  or  a  vicar-general. 
"  The  dignity  of  a  bishop,"  says  St.  Ambrose,  "  is  higher  than  that  of 
a  king."  The  privileges  of  the  order  are  as  follows :  The  right  to 
wear  a  mitre,  the  sign  of  his  leadership,  and  to  carry  a  crosier,  which 
is  curved  at  the  end  in  sign  of  his  limited  jurisdiction.  He  also  wears 
a  ring,  symbolical  of  his  union  with  the  diocese,  and  a  pectoral  cross. 
The  faithful  kiss  his  hand,  and  he  is  addressed  by  the  Pope  as 
brother,  because  as  bishop  he  has  the  same  rank  as  the  Pope. 

The  bishops  are  subject  to  the  Pope  and  owe  him  obedience. 

The  Pope  gives  their  jurisdiction  to  the  bishops;  and  110  bishop 
may  exercise  his  office  before  being  recognized  and  confirmed  by  the 
Pope.  He  is  obliged  also  to  go  to  Rome  (ad  limina  apostolorum)  to 
report  on  the  state  of  his  diocese.  An  appeal  may  always  be  made 
from  a  bishop  to  the  Pope.  Bishops,  such  as  the  Greek  or  Anglican, 
who  decline  submission  to  the  Pope,  are  neither  members  of  the 
Church,  nor  have  they  jurisdiction,  even  where  they  have  valid 

Archbishops  or  metropolitans  are  bishops  who  have  powers 
over  other  bishops. 

Some  have  the  privilege  of  wearing  the  pallium,  a  white  strip  of 
wool  on  the  shoulders  symbolical  of  gentleness  and  humility.  The 
Primate  is  a  still  higher  dignitary,  and  is  the  bishop  of  the  whole 
nation.  Above  him  in  rank  is  the  Patriarch  or  Exarch,  who  in 
former  times  was  set  over  the  metropolitans.  The  Bishops  of  An- 
tioch,  Alexandria,  and  Rome  were  patriarchs,  because  these  sees 
were  founded  by  St.  Peter.  In  our  days  the  titles  patriarch  and 
Primate  signify  nothing  more  than  a  precedence  of  dignity;  they  are 
not  of  divine  institution.  There  are  also  others  of  the  clergy  who  are 
termed  prelates;  some  of  them  £njoy  most  or  all  of  the  powers  of 

228  Faith. 

bishops,  and  are  called  vicars  apostolic.     There  are  others  whose  title 
is  merely  honorary. 

2.  The  priests  are  the  assistants  of  the  bishops. 

They  receive  their  Orders  from  the  bishop,  and  so  are  his  spiritual 
sons ;  and  their  business  is  to  carry  out  the  commands  of  the  bishop ; 
even  when  called  in  to  assist  at  councils,  they  do  not  vote  as  judges 
but  only  as  counsellors,  nor  have  they  powers  to  excommunicate. 

The  priests  have  only  a  portion  of  the  episcopal  power,  and 
their  office  may  be  exercised  only  with  sanction  from  the  bishop. 

This  sanction  is  called  the  canonical  mission  (missio  canonica}. 
The  dress  of  the  priest  is  a  soutane,  or  black  garment  reaching  to  the 

Parish  priests  are  those  to  whom  the  bishop  has  confided 
permanently  the  charge  of  a  district. 

The  district  is  called  a  parish.  Dean  is  the  title  given  to  parish 
priests  of  larger  districts.  In  the  assignment  of  a  parish  the  bishop 
usually  shows  some  consideration  for  the  wishes  of  the  patron  or 
patrons,  i.e.,  the  person  or  persons  who  have  been  and  are  con 
spicuous  benefactors  in  the  district.  The  parish  priest  is  the  repre 
sentative  of  the  bishop,  and  no  one  may,  without  his  leave,  exercise 
spiritual  functions  in  the  parish,  such  as  preaching,  baptizing,  giv 
ing  extreme  unction,  marrying,  and  burying. 

Parish  priests  who  are  appointed  by  the  bishop  over  the 
priests  of  a  large  district  are  called  rural  deans. 

They  make  a  visitation  of  the  parishes  and  act  as  intermediaries 
with  the  bishop. 

Parish  priests  of  larger  districts  have  assistants,  or  curates. 

3.  A  Catholic  is  one  who  has  been  baptized  and  professes  him 
self  to  be  a  member  of  the  Catholic  Church. 

The  Church  is  a  community  into  which  admittance  is  gained  by 
Baptism.  Thus  the  three  thousand  baptized  on  the  first  Pentecost 
became  members  of  the  Church  (Acts  ii.  41).  Moreover  a  man  must 
make  external  profession  of  being  a  member  of  the  Church,  so  that 
any  one  who  breaks  away,  for  instance,  by  heresy,  no  longer  belongs 
to  the  Church  in  spite  of  his  baptism,  though  he  is  not  thereby  freed 
from  his  obligations  to  the  Church.  Neither  heathens,  Jews,  heretics, 
nor  schismatics  are  members  of  the  Church  (Council  of  Florence), 
though  children  baptized  validly  in  other  communions  really  belong 
to  it.  "  For,"  as  St.  Augustine  says,  "  Baptism  is  the  privilege  of  the 
true  Church,  and  so  the  benefits  which  flow  from  Baptism  are  neces 
sarily  fruits  which  belong  only  to  the  true  Church.  Children  baptized 
in  other  communions  cease  to  be  members  of  the  Church  only  when, 
after  reaching  the  age  of  reason,  they  make  formal  profession  of 
heresy,  as,  for  example,  by  receiving  communion  in  a  non-Catholic 
church."  The  Christians  were  at  first  known  by  the  name  of  ISTaza- 
reans,  from  Nazareth,  or  Galileans,  from  Galilee;  it  was  first  in 

Tlie  Apostles'  Creed.  229 

Antioch  that  the  name  Christian  came  to  be  in  use  (Acts  xi.  26),  and 
the  name  Christians  is  appropriate.  We  are  followers  of  Christ, 
willing  to  be  conformed  to  the  image  of  Christ  (Rom.  viii.  29). 
"  We  receive  our  name,"  says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  "  not  from  an 
earthly  ruler,  nor  from  an  angel,  nor  from  an  archangel,  nor  from  a 
seraphim,  but  from  the  King  of  all  the  earth." 

A  true  Catholic  is  not  only  one  who  has  been  baptized  and 
belongs  to  the  Church,  but  who  also  makes  serious  efforts  to 
secure  his  eternal  salvation;  who  believes  the  teaching  of  the 
Church,  keeps  the  commandments  of  God,  and  of  the  Church, 
who  receives  the  sacraments,  and  prays  to  God  in  the  manner 
prescribed  by  Christ. 

He  is  not  a  true  Christian  who  is  ignorant  of  his  faith.  Such  a 
one  might  as  well  call  himself  a  doctor  though  knowing  nothing  of 
medicine.  "  ISTor  is  he  a  true  Christian,"  says  St.  Justin,  "  who  does 
not  live  as  Christ  taught  him  to  live."  Our  Lord  said  to  the  Jews : 
"  If  you  be  the  children  of  Abraham  do  the  works  of  Abraham " 
(John  viii.  39),  and  He  might  say  to  the  Christians  "If  you  be  Chris 
tians  do  the  works  of  Christ."  "  If  you  want  to  be  a  Christian,"  says 
St.  Gregory  Nazianzen,  "  you  must  live  the  life  of  Christ ;"  and  St. 
Augustine :  "  A  true  Christian  is  the  man  who  is  gentle,  good,  and 
merciful  to  all,  and  shares  his  bread  with  the  poor."  Christ  Himself 
said  that  His  disciples  should  be  known  by  their  love  one  for  another 
(John  xiii.  35).  A  Christian  who  neglects  the  sacraments  is  like  a  sol 
dier  who  has  no  weapons ;  what  a  responsibility  he  incurs  !  Louis  of 
Granada  says,  "  A  field  which  is  well  tended  is  expected  to  yield  a 
richer  harvest ;  so  more  good  works  are  expected  from  a  Christian 
than  from  a  heathen,  because  the  Christian  has  greater  graces." 

Every  Catholic  has  rights  and  duties.  He  has  an  especial 
claim  to  the  means  of  grace  supplied  by  the  Church,  and  he 
is  obliged  to  obey  his  ecclesiastical  superiors  in  spiritual  matters, 
and  to  make  provision  for  their  support  as  well  as  for  that  of 
God's  service. 

A  good  Catholic  ought  also  to  hear  the  word  of  God,  receive  the 
necessary  sacraments,  take  part  in  divine  service,  and  he  has  a  right 
to  Christian  burial,  etc.  The  Church  forces  nobody  to  enter  its  pale, 
but  whoever  becomes  a  member  of  his  own  free  will,  and  remains  so, 
must  be  subject  to  the  laws  of  the  Church.  Under  certain  circum 
stances  those  who  disobey  the  laws  of  the  Church  are  excommuni 
cated  or  shut  out  from  the  Church.  They  lose  their  claim  to  the 
spiritual  goods  of  the  Church;  they  may  not  join  in  the  divine  serv 
ice,  nor  receive  the  sacraments,  nor  an  office  in  the  Church,  nor 
Christian  burial.  Some  offences  involve  excommunication  ipso 
facto ;  for  instance,  apostasy,  duelling,  freemasonry  (Pius  IX.,  Oc 
tober  12,  1869).  In  other  cases  the  excommunication  must  be  formally 
pronounced,  and  that,  too,  after  warning  and  trial,  as  in  the  case  of 
the  Old  Catholic  bishops  Eeinkens  and  Bellinger.  St.  Ambrose  for 
bade  the  Emperor  Theodosius  to  enter  the  Church  after  the  latter 
had,  by  his  orders,  caused  the  slaughter  of  some  seven  thousand 

230  Faith. 

people  in  Thessalonica ;  and  it  was  only  after  doing  severe  penance 
that  he  was  admitted.  We  know,  too,  that  St.  Paul  cut  off  from  the 
Church  a  vicious  Corinthian  (1  Cor.  v.  13).  The  State  exercises  a 
similar  power  in  banishing  criminals. 


Christ  compared  the  Church  to  a  grain  of  mustard-seed,  which 
is  the  smallest  of  seeds,  but  grows  into  a  tree  in  which  the  birds  of 
the  air  build  their  nests  (Matt.  xiii.  31,  32). 

1.  Christ  laid  the  foundation  of  the  Church  when,  in  the 
course  of  His  teaching,  He  gathered  a  number  of  disciples,  and 
chose  twelve  of  these  to  preside  over  the  rest  and  one  to  be  Head 
of  all. 

2.  The  Church  first  began  its  life  on  Pentecost,  when  some 
three  thousand  people  were  baptized. 

Pentecost  is  the  birthday  of  the  Church.  After  the  miracle  at 
the  gate  of  the  Temple  some  two  thousand  more  were  baptized. 

3.  Soon  after  the  descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost  the  apostles  began 
to  preach  the  Gospel  throughout  the  world,  in  accordance  with  the 
commands  of  Christ  (Mark  xvi.  15),  and  founded  Christian  com 
munities  in  many  places. 

St.  Paul,  after  his  conversion  in  34  A.D.,  labored  more  abun 
dantly  than  all  the  apostles  (1  Cor.  xv.  10) ;  he  traversed  Asia  Minor, 
the  greater  part  of  Southern  Europe,  and  many  islands  of  the 
Mediterranean.  After  him  St.  Peter  labored  most.  After  escaping 
by  a  miracle  from  his  prison  in  Jerusalem,  he  founded  his  see  at 
Rome  where,  in  company  with  St.  Paul,  he  suffered  martyrdom.  St. 
John,  the  beloved  disciple,  lived  at  Ephesus  with  our  blessed  Lady, 
and  governed  the  Church  in  Asia  Minor.  His  brother,  St.  James  the 
Greater,  travelled  as  far  as  Spain,  and  was  beheaded  in  Jerusalem  in 
44  A.D.  His  body  rests  at  Compostella.  St.  James  the  Less  governed 
the  Church  at  Jerusalem,  and  was  cast  down  from  a  pinnacle  of  the 
Temple  in  A.D.  63.  'St.  Andrew  preached  to  the  people  living  along 
the  lower  Danube,  and  died  on  a  cross  in  Achaia.  St.  Thomas  and 
St.  Bartholomew  made  their  way  to  the  Euphrates  and  Tigris,  and 
as  far  as  India.  St.  Simon  evangelized  Egypt  and  North  Africa. 

The  apostles  established  their  communities  after  the  follow 
ing  plan:  having  converted  and  baptized  a  number  of  men  in 
a  place,  they  chose  assistants,  to  whom  they  imparted  a  greater 
or  less  portion  of  their  own  powers;  and  before  leaving  the 
place  they  made  choice  of  a  successor,  and  gave  him  full  powers 
(Acts  xiv.  22). 

Those  who  received  only  a  small  portion  of  the  apostolic  power 
were  called  deacons,  and  priests  those  who  had  ampler  faculties. 
The  representatives  of  the  apostles  were  called  bishops.  Christ  gave 
the  apostles  power  to  choose  successors  when  He  gave  to  them  the 

Ttie  Apostles'  Creed.  231 

self-same  power  which  He  had  received  from  the  Father  (John  xx. 
21) ;  and  it  was  His  wish  that  they  should  choose  successors,  for 
He  told  the  apostles  that  their  mission  should  continue  to  the  end  of 
the  world  (Matt,  xxviii.  20). 

Among  all  the  Christian  communities  that  of  Rome  took  the 
highest  rank,  because  it  was  presided  over  by  St.  Peter,  the  chief 
of  the  apostles,  and  because  to  the  Head  of  that  community 
as  successor  of  St.  Peter  the  primacy  of  St.  Peter  was  trans 

St.  Ignatius,  Bishop  of  Antioch  (107  A.D.)  in  a  letter  to  the 
Christians  of  Rome,  begs  them  not  to  set  him  free  and  calls  the 
Roman  community  the  "  chief  community  of  the  holy  band  of  the 
faithful;"  and  St.  Iremeus,  Bishop  of  Lyons  (202  A.D.),  says  "All 
the  faithful  over  the  whole  world  must  conform  to  the  Roman  Church 
on  account  of  its  principality." 

All  Christian  communities  which  have  been  formed  in  the 
course  of  time  professed  the  same  faith,  and  acknowledged  the 
same  means  of  grace  and  the  same  Head.  Hence  they  formed 
one  large  community — the  Catholic  Church. 

4.  When  the  great  persecutions  broke  out,  the  Church  spread 
more  rapidly  over  the  earth. 

During  the  first  three  centuries  there  were  ten  persecutions,  the 
severest  being  under  Nero  and  Diocletian  (284-385  A.D.),  the  latter 
monster  condemning  some  2,000,000  Christians.  They  were  mar 
tyred  in  various  ways;  they  were  beheaded  like  St.  Paul,  crucified 
like  St.  Peter,  stoned  like  St.  Stephen,  thrown  to  the  lions  like  St. 
Ignatius  of  Antioch,  roasted  on  gridirons  like  St.  Lawrence,  drowned 
like  St.  ITlorian,  flayed  like  St.  Bartholomew,  cast  over  cliffs  or  from 
high  places  like  St.  James,  burned  at  the  scaffold  like  St.  Polycarp, 
buried  alive  like  St.  Chrysanthus,  etc.  The  very  means  adopted  to 
exterminate  the  Christian  religion  helped  to  propagate  it.  The 
speeches  of  the  Christians  before  their  judges  often  converted  the 
hearers.  The  joy  with  which  they  faced  death,  their  superhuman 
patience,  and  their  love  of  their  enemies,  were  powerful  influences 
on  the  heathen.  Added  to  this  were  the  miracles  which  often  hap 
pened  during  the  martyrdoms,  as  for  instance  in  the  case  of  St.  Poly- 
carp  and  St.  John  at  the  Lateran  Gate.  In  the  words  of  St. 
Rupert,  the  martyrs  are  like  the  seed  which  is  buried  hi  the  earth, 
and  sprouts  and  brings  forth  much  fruit ;  or  of  St.  Leo  tho  Great,  if 
the  storm  scatters  the  seed  this  benefit  results  that  instead  of  one, 
some  fifty  other  trees  grow  up.  "  The  blood  of  the  martyrs,"  says 
Tertullian,  "  is  the  seed  of  Christians."  The  life  of  the  Christians 
was  then  a  model,  and  they  abounded  in  saints.  At  the  risk  of  their 
life  they  prayed  to  God  in  the  catacombs.  Two  years  of  probation 
were  demanded  of  the  catechumens  before  reception. 

When  the  Roman  emperor,  Constantine  the  Great,  had  per 
mitted  his  subjects  to  become  Christians  and  later  made  the 

232  Faith. 

Christian  religion  the  State  religion  (324  A.D.),  the  Church 
indeed  nourished  externally,  but  fervor  and  religious  discipline 
soon  began  to  suffer. 

Constantino  was  led  to  this  step  by  the  appearance  of  the 
luminous  cross  in  the  heavens  (312  A.D.),  and  still  more  by  his  holy 
mother  St.  Helena.  The  following  were  some  of  his  ordinances : 
Sundays  and  feast  days  were  to  be  observed  with  solemnity;  the 
temples  of  the  heathen  were  to  be  handed  over  to  the  bishops;  the 
gladiatorial  combats  and  the  crucifixion  of  criminals  were  forbidden, 
and  many  churches  were  built.  By  the  miraculous  draught  of  fishes 
related  in  the  fifth  chapter  of  St.  Luke  and  the  two  boats  almost 
sunk  with  the  weight  of  fish,  was  prefigured  the  future  of  the  Church, 
which  should  suffer  schism  with  the  increase  of  its  members,  while 
Christians  should  sink  down  to  earthly  things.  The  heresy  of  Arius 
(318  A.D.)  began  its  deadly  work  in  the  time  of  Constantine,  and 
had  a  great  following.  At  this  time  also  ceased  the  test  of  the  cate 
chumens,  so  that  it  was  easier  to  become  a  member  of  the  Church. 
St.  Augustine  had  reason  to  say :  "  If  the  Church  is  harassed  by 
external  foes,  there  are  many  in  her  bosom  who  by  their  unruly  life 
make  sad  the  hearts  of  the  faithful." 

5.  In  the  Middle  Ages  nearly  all  the  heathen  nations  began 
to  enter  the  Church. 

In  Austria  about  450  A.D.,  the  monk  Severinus  preached  the 
Gospel  for  thirty  years  along  the  banks  of  the  Danube.  St.  Gregory 
the  Great,  in  600  A.D.,  sent  St.  Augustine  at  the  head  of  a  number 
of  missioners  to  convert  England ;  eighty  years  later  the  country  was 
Christian  and  had  twenty-six  sees.  Germany  owes  most  to  St. 
Boniface,  who  preached  the  Gospel  there  for  about  forty  years  (755 
A.D.).  The  Greek  monks  Saints  Cyril  and  Methodius  worked  among 
the  Slavs,  mainly  of  Bohemia  and  Moravia,  with  great  success.  The 
Hungarians  were  converted  by  their  holy  king  Stephen  (1038  A.D.) 
"  the  apostolic  king."  Christianity  was  gradually  introduced  into 
Iceland,  Denmark,  Sweden,  Norway,  Russia  and  Poland  after  1000 

The  Church  was  hard  pressed  by  Islam  during  the  Middle 

Islamism  or  Mohammedanism  was  founded  by  Mohammed,  a 
native  of  Mecca,  who  gave  himself  out  to  be  a  prophet  of  the  one 
true  God,  promised  sensual  joy  after  death,  allowed  plurality  of 
wives,  imposed  a  pilgrimage  to  Mecca,  taught  fatalism,  and  after 
propagating  his  doctrines  by  fire  and  sword,  was  poisoned  in  632 
A.D.,  by  a  Jewess.  The  Koran  is  the  sacred  book  of  the  Moham 
medans.  They  keep  the  Friday  with  great  solemnity,  and  pray  five 
times  a  day  turned  towards  Mecca.  Mohammed's  successors  were  the 
caliphs,  who  undertook  wars  of  conquest  on  a  large  scale,  every 
where  rooting  out  the  Christian  religion.  They  overran  a  great 
part  of  Asia,  North  Africa,  Spain  and  the  islands  of  the  Mediterra 
nean.  Charles  Martel,  in  a  series  of  victories  (732-738  A.D.),  ar 
rested  their  advance  into  France,  and  ever  since  their  failure  in  1638 
before  Vienna,  their  progress  in  the  West  was  arrested. 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  233 

In  addition  the  Church  lost  many  adherents  in  the  Middle 
Ages  by  the  Greek  schism. 

The  causes  of  the  schism  were  as  follows:  The  emperors  of  the 
East  kept  trying  to  make  the  patriarchs  of  Constantinople  independent 
of  Rume,  while  these  were  often  for  their  heresies  put  under  ban  by 
the  councils.  In  time  it  came  about  that  the  ambitious  Photius, 
backed  up  by  the  emperor,  held  a  council  of  the  Eastern  bishops,  and 
broke  away  from  Rome  (867  A.D.).  The  succeeding  emperor  re-estab 
lished  the  old  relations  with  Rome.  Two  hundred  years  later,  how 
ever,  the  patriarch  Michael  Cerularius  renewed  the  contest  (1054 
A.D.),  and  the  schism  effected  by  him  lasts  till  the  present  day.  They 
call  themselves  the  Orthodox  Greeks,  while  we  call  them  the  Schis 
matic  Greeks,  in  opposition  to  the  United  Greeks  or  Uniates,  who 
preserved  their  allegiance  to  Rome. 

6.  In  later  times  many  nations  of  the  newly  discovered  coun 
tries  were  converted. 

The  Spaniards  and  Portuguese  led  the  van  of  missionary  enter 
prise.  One  of  the  most  famous  of  these  missionaries  is  St.  Francis 
Xavier,  the  apostle  of  the  Indies,  who  used  to  call  the  little  children 
together  with  a  bell,  as  he  made  his  way  through  the  cities  of  India, 
the  islands  of  Molucca,  and  Japan,  to  teach  them  the  truths  of  re 
ligion  (1552  A.D.)  ;  he  had  the  gift  of  tongues,  and  baptized  some  two 
million  heathens.  After  his  death  great  work  was  done  in  China 
by  the  Jesuits,  especially  Ricci  and  Schall.  Another  great  mission 
ary  is  St.  Peter  Claver  (1654  A.D.)  whose  work  was  mostly  among 
the  negroes  in  South  America.  Cardinal  Lavigerie  in  our  own  time 
has  done  much  in  Africa,  especially  in  resisting  the  slave  trade,  and 
founding  a  congregation  for  the  conversion  of  the  natives.  The 
College  of  Propaganda  was  founded  at  Rome  in  1662  for  the  train 
ing  of  young  men  from  all  nations  for  a  missionary  career.  At  pres 
ent  some  15,000  priests,  5,000  lay  brothers  and  50,000  nuns  are  at 
work  in  the  foreign  missions;  the  missionaries  belong  for  the  most 
part  to  the  Orders  of  Jesuits,  Franciscans,  Capuchins,  Benedictines, 
and  Lazarists.  The  organizations  for  the  support  of  the  missions  are 
the  Propagation  of  the  Faith  and  the  Holy  Childhood.  It  is  a  sacred 
obligation  to  help  in  such  work,  and  the  efforts  of  non- Catholics 
in  this  direction  may  well  put  us  to  shame. 

In  later  times  the  Church  has  lost  many  members  by  the 
Lutheran  and  Anglican  heresies. 

Martin  Luther,  an  Augustinian  monk  of  Erfurt,  and  later 
teacher  in  the  high  school  at  Wittenburg,  took  offence  because  he 
thought  that  he  was  not  sufficiently  held  in  esteem  at  Rome.  When 
Pope  Leo  X.,  anxious  to  complete  the  building  of  St.  Peter's,  gave 
indulgences  to  those  who  should  subscribe  to  the  work,  and  sent  out 
preachers  to  promulgate  these  indulgences,  Luther  came  forward  with 
his  ninety-five  propositions  on  indulgences,  and  nailed  them  to  the 
door  of  the  church  at  Wittenburg.  These  propositions  at  first  con 
demned  only  the  abuses  of  indulgences  in  the  Church,  but  later 
went  on  to  combat  the  teaching  of  the  Church  on  the  subject  (1517). 

234  Faith. 

Refusing  to  withdraw  them  at  the  command  of  the  Pope  he  was 
excommunicated  (1520),  and  also  outlawed  by  the  emperor  for  not 
answering  the  summons  requiring  him  to  appear  before  the  council 
at  Worms.  He  sought  protection  from  the  Elector  of  Saxony.  His 
heresy  soon  spread  over  Germany  and  led  to  many  religious  wars. 
The  name  Protestant  was  assumed  by  the  Lutherans  at  Spires  in 
1529,  on  account  of  their  protest  against  Catholic  doctrine.  '  The 
Peace  of  Augsburg  secured  to  the  Protestants  the  same  rights  as 
Catholics  (1555).  The  Council  of  Trent  set  forth  the  points  in  dis 
pute  between  Catholics  and  Protestants  (1545-1563).  Luther  died  in 
1546.  His  chief  errors  are  contained  in  the  following  propositions: 
(1).  There  is  110  supreme  teaching  power  in  the  Church.  (2).  The 
temporal  sovereign  has  supreme  power  in  matters  ecclesiastical.  (3). 
There  are  no  priests.  (4).  All  that  is  to  be  believed  is  in  the  Scrip 
ture.  (5).  Each  one  may  interpret  the  Holy  Scriptures  as  he  likes. 
(6).  Faith  alone  saves,  good  works  are  superfluous.  (7).  This  last 
follows  from  the  fact  that  man  lost  his  free  will  by  original  sin.  (8). 
There  are  no  saints,  no  Christian  sacrifice,  no  sacrament  of  confes 
sion,  no  purgatory.  The  Jesuits,  founded  by  St.  Ignatius  of  Loyola 
(1540),  won  many  back  again  to  the  fold  of  the  Church.  Zwingli  and 
Calvin  in  Switzerland,  and  Henry  VIII.  in  England,  about  the  same 
time  helped  in  Luther's  deadly  work.  The  errors  of  the  Anglican 
Church  were  drawn  up  later  in  the  form  of  Thirty-nine  Articles, 
which  are  quite  Lutheran  in  tone. 

7.  At  present  the  Catholic  Church  numbers  about  260,000,000 


These  are  under  the  direction  of  about  1200  bishops,  counting 
about  15  patriarchs,  200  archbishops  and  20  prelates  with  dioceses. 
There  are  some  350,000  Catholic  priests  in  the  whole  world.  The  in 
habitants  of  Italy,  Spain,  France,  Austria,  Belgium,  and  Ireland  are 
nearly  all  Catholics.  In  Switzerland  about  half  are  Catholics;  in 
Germany  over  a  third  of  the  population,  and  in  Russia  11,000,000. 
In  Europe  about  three-quarters  of  the  entire  population  are  Catholic. 
In  America  there  are  80,000,000  Catholics,  of  whom  there  are  10,000,- 
000  in  the  United  States,  forming  one-seventh  of  the  entire  popula 
tion,  while  Mexico,  south  and  central  America,  with  the  exception  of 
Brazil,  are  almost  entirely  Catholic.  The  adjacent  islands  are  mainly 
Catholic.  In  Asia  there  are  only  10,000,000  Catholics,  in  Africa 
3,000,000,  in  Australia  1,000,000.  The  Protestants,  comprising  the 
various  sects  of  Lutherans,  Calvinists,  Anglicans,  etc.,  number  150,- 
000,000;  they  inhabit  England,  North  and  Central  Germany,  the 
Netherlands,  Denmark,  Sweden,  Norway,  parts  of  Switzerland  and 
Hungary,  and  the  United  States  of  America.  The  Oriental  Greeks 
or  Schismatic  Greeks  number  about  100,000,000.  They  occupy  for 
the  most  part  the  Balkan  peninsula  and  Russia.  Besides  these  there 
are  some  10,000,000  of  various  other  Christian  sects,  hence  a  total  of 
520,000,000  Christians.  Since  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth  amount  to 
about  1,500,000,000  only  a  little  over  one- third  of  the  human  race  is 
Christian.  The  Mohammedans  number  170,000,000;  they  inhabit 
Arabia,  Western  Asia,  the  northern  half  of  Africa,  and  part  of  Tur 
key.  In  addition  there  are  8,000,000  Jews;  they  are  for  the  greater 
part  in  Russia  and  Austria.  Finally  there  are  still  800,000,000 

The  Apostles9  Creed.  235 

heathens,   dwelling   for   the  most  part   in   Southern  Africa,   India, 
China  and  Japan. 


Indestructibility  of  the  Church. 

The  Catholic  Church  is  indestructible;  i.e.,  it  will  remain  till 
the  end  of  the  world,  for  Christ  said :  "  The  gates  of  hell  shall  not 
prevail  against  it  "  (Matt.  xvi.  18) . 

Hence  there  will  always  be  Popes,  bishops,  and  faithful,  and  God's 
revealed  truths  will  ever  be  found  in  the  Catholic  Church.  The 
archangel  Gabriel  had  announced  to  Mary:  "Of  His  kingdom  there 
shall  be  no  end"  (Luke  i.  33).  "The  Church,"  says  St.  Ambrose, 
"  is  like  the  moon ;  it  may  wane,  but  never  be  destroyed ;  it  may  be 
darkened,  but  it  can  never  disappear."  "  The  bark  of  the  Church," 
says  St.  Ansel m,  "  may  be  swept  by  the  waves,  but  it  can  never  sink 
because  Christ  is  there." 

1.  Of  all  the  persecutors  of  the  Church  none  have  succeeded 
against  it,  and  some  have  come  to  a  fearful  end. 

Judas'  end  is  the  type  of  those  of  his  imitators.  Herod,  the  mur 
derer  of  the  infants  of  Bethlehem,  died  in  unspeakable  tortures; 
so,  too,  Herod  the  murderer  of  St.  James  was  devoured  by  worms. 
Pilate  was  banished  by  the  emperor  to  Vienne,  in  France,  and  there 
he  took  his  own  life.  During  the  siege  of  Jerusalem  1,000,000  Jews 
died  of  hunger  or  sickness,  or  in  battle,  the  city  itself  was  reduced  to 
ashes  and  some  hundred  thousand  Jews  carried  off  into  captivity. 
The  tyrant  Nero  was  deposed,  and  in  his  flight  from  Rome  was 
stabbed  by  a  slave.  Diocletian  came  to  a  shameful  end.  Before  his 
death  his  family  were  sent  into  exile,  his  statues  were  destroyed, 
and  his  body  attacked  with  a  loathsome  disease.  Julian  the  Apostate 
was  struck  down  on  the  field  of  battle  by  a  lance;  his  last  words 
were :  "  Galilean,  Thou  hast  conquered."  The  case  of  Napoleon  is 
instructive.  He  kept  Pius  VII.  a  prisoner  for  five  years,  he  himself 
was  a  prisoner  for  seven  years;  in  the  castle  at  Fontainebleau  he 
forced  the  Pope  to  give  up  the  States  of  the  Church,  promising  a 
yearly  income  of  2,000,000  francs;  in  the  same  place  he  was  himself 
forced  to  sign  his  abdication,  and  received  a  promise  of  a  yearly 
income  of  the  same  amount.  Four  days  after  giving  the  order  to 
unite  the  States  of  the  Church  with  France  he  lost  the  battles  of 
Aspern  and  Erlingen.  He  answered  the  excommunication  launched 
against  him,  saying  that  the  words  of  an  old  man  would  not  make  the 
arms  drop  from  the  hands  of  his  soldiers.  This  actually  happened 
in  his  Russian  campaign  from  the  intense  cold;  and  on  the  same  day 
on  which  Napoleon  died  at  St.  Helena,  Pius  VII.  was  celebrating  his 
own  feast  day  at  Rome.  No  wonder  the  French  have  a  saying: 
"  Whoever  eats  of  the  Pope  dies."  The  same  fate  is  shared  by  the 
founders  of  heresies,  and  the  enemies  of  religion.  Arius  burst  asun 
der  during  a  triumphal  procession;  Voltaire  died  in  despair.  These 

236  Faith. 

facts  and  many  more  of  the  same  kind  illustrate  the  words  of  Holy 
Writ :  "  It  is  a  fearful  thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  living 
God"  (Heb.  x.  31). 

2.  When  the  Church  is  in  the  greatest  need,  Christ  ever 
comes  to  its  help,  either  by  miracles  or  by  raising  up  saintly  men. 

The  appearance  of  the  cross  in  the  heavens,  for  instance,  seen  by 
Constantine  and  his  army,  brought  the  Christian  persecution  to  an 
end.  "  The  Church,"  says  St.  Jerome,  "  is  like  Peter's  bark.  When 
the  storm  is  at  its  height  the  Lord  wakes  from  His  sleep  and  com 
mands  peace." 

3.  "  It  is  peculiar  to  the  Church/'   says  St.   Hilary,   "  to 
nourish  most  when  persecuted.77 

"  Persecutions,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  serve  to  bring  forth  saints." 
To  the  Church  as  well  as  to  Eve  were  the  words  spoken :  "  In  sorrow  thou  bring  forth  children"  (Gen.  iii.  16).  The  members  of 
the  Church  increase  under  persecution.  The  Church  is  a  field,  fruit 
ful  only  when  torn  up  by  the  plough,  or  it  is  a  vine,  stronger  and 
richer  for  being  pruned.  "  As  fire  is  spread  by  the  wind,  so  is  the 
Church  increased  by  persecution,"  says  St.  Rupert.  Persecution 
purifies  the  Church;  even  if  millions  fall  away,  it  is  not  a  loss  but 
a  cleansing.  The  time  of  persecution  is  usually  a  period  of  miracles, 
attesting  the  divine  origin  of  the  Church,  as  in  the  Babylonish  cap 
tivity  they  attested  the  truth  of  the  religion  of  the  Jews.  How 
often  have  Christians  come  unhurt  out  of  boiling  liquid,  like  St. 
Cecilia,  or  remained  unharmed  in  the  midst  of  the  flames,  like  St. 
Polycarp,  or  been  thrown  to  the  beasts  and  received  their  homage  like 
St.  Venantius  ?  Facts  like  these  force  the  enemies  of  the  Church  to 
exclaim :  "  Mighty  indeed  is  the  God  of  the  Christians."  The  Church 
comes  triumphant  out  of  every  persecution.  Easter  always  follows 
Good  Friday.  But  a  few  years  ago  the  bishops  in  Germany  were 
cast  into  prison,  the  religious  Orders  driven  out,  the  administration 
of  the  sacraments  in  part  forbidden;  at  the  present  day  the  number 
of  Catholic  members  in  the  Reichstag  is  over  a  hundred,  the  Catho 
lic  journals  have  increased  to  four  or  five  hundred,  yearly  con 
gresses  take  place,  and  all  kinds  of  unions  for  Catholic  objects  are 
formed,  while  the  Catholics  themselves  are  stauncher  and  more  self- 
sacrificing.  "  The  more  battles  the  Church  has  to  fight,  the  more  her 
powers  are  developed;  and  the  more  she  is  oppressed  the  higher  she 
rises,"  are  the  words  of  Pius  VII.  Such  a  privilege  belongs  to  no  in 
stitution  save  the  Church,  and  by  that  she  may  be  recognized  as  the 
offspring  of  God,  the  Bride  of  Christ. 

The  Infallibility  of  the  Church. 

God  has  planted  in  our  hearts  a  longing  for  truth  which  must 
be  satisfied.  Our  first  parents  had  no  difficulties  to  face  in  the  search 
for  truth.  "  In  the  state  of  innocence,"  says  St.  Thomas,  "  it  was  im 
possible  for  man  to  mistake  false  for  true."  Ever  since  the  Fall,  to 
err  is  human.  God,  however,  sent  an  infallible  Teacher,  His  only- 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  £37 

begotten  Son,  that  man  might  again  find  the  truth ;  hence  the  words 
of  Christ  to  Pilate :  "  For  this  came  I  into^  the  w.orld  that  I  should 
give  testimony  of  the  truttT7'(John  xviii.  37)^  Christ  was  to  be  a 
light  to  our  understandings",  darkened  as  they  were  by  sin  (John  iii. 
19).  As  Christ  was  not  to  remain__always  on  earth,  He  appointed 
another  infallible  teacher,  His  Church,  and  provided  it  with  the 
necessary  gifts,  especially  with  the  assistance  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 

Christ  conferred  on  His  apostles  and  their  successors  the 
teacjimg_office?  and  promised  them  His  divine  assistance. 

Thus  He  said  at  His  ascension  into  heaven :  "  Going,  teach  ye  all 
nations  .  .  .  and  behold  I  am  with  you  all  days,  even  to  the  con 
summation  of  the  world  "  (Matt,  xxviii.  19,  20) ;  and  at  the  Last  Sup 
per  :  "  I  will  ask  the  Father  and  He  shall  give  you  another  Paraclete 
that  He  may  abide  with  you  forever,  the  ^Spirit  of  truth"  (John 
xiv.  16,  17).  To  St.  Peter  He  said:  "The  gates  of  hell  shall  not 
prevaiLagainst  the i  Church  "  (Matt.  xvi.  18).  Since  Christ  is  the  Son 
of  God,  His  words  must  be  true.  If  the  Church,  in  the  carrying  out  of 
her  teaching  office,  could  lead  man  into  error,  Christ  would  not  have 
kept  His  word.  Hence  St.  Paul  calls  the  Church  "  the  pillar  and 
groundj3JLJJie--truth  "  (1  Tim.  iii.  15),  and  the  measures  cTecided  upon 
by  the  apostles  in  the  Council  of  Jerusalem  were  introduced  with  the 
words :  "  For  it  hath  seemed  good  to  the  Holy__Ghost  and  to  us " 
(Acts  xv.  28).  It  is  no  recent  belief  that  the  Church  Ts  infallible.  Long 
ago  Qrigen  writes,  "  As  in  the  heavens  there  are  two  great  sources 
of  light,  the  sun,  and  the  moon  which  borrows  its  light  from  the 
sun,  so  there  are  two  sources  of  our  interior  light — Christ  and  the 
Church.  Christ,  the  Light  of  the  world,  shares  His  light  with  the 
Church,  and  she  enlightens  all  the  earth."  In  the  words  of  St. 
IrenaBus :  "  Where  the  Church  is,  there  is  also  the  Spirit  of  God." 

1.  The  Catholic  Church  is  infallible  in  her  teaching;   i.e.,  the 
Holy  Spirit  assists  the  Church  in  such  a  manner  that  she  cannot 
err  in  the  preserving  and  announcing  of  revealed  doctrine. 

Just  as  pur_r_e_ason  prevents  us  from  making  statements  which 
are  contrary  to  certain  fundamental  truths,  so  the  Holy  Ghost  exerts 
His  influence  to  prevent  the  Church  giving  any  decision  con 
trary  to  the  truths  taught  by  Christ.  1?he  infallibility  of  the  Church 
is  not  in  any  way  like  that  of  God  with  God,  for  she  attributes  it  not 
to  herself  but  to  God's  special  providence  over  her. 

2.  The  Church  delivers  her  infallible  decisions  through  general 
councils  and  through  the  Pope. 

In  every ^ingdom  some  court  is  established  for  the  settlement 
of  doubtful  cases ;  it  is  evident  that  the  all-wise  God  must  have  in 
stituted  some  such  tribunal  in  His  kingdom;  and  this  tribunal  is 
the  general  assembly  of  the  bishops,  for  at  His  ascent  into  heaven  He 
gave  them  the  power  to  teach,  and  promised  them  immunity  from 
error  (Matt,  xxviii.  18-20).  Hence  the  expression  of  St.  Cyprian: 
"  The  Church  is  in  the  bishops."  Now  since  the  bishop^  cannot 
always^  assemble  together  on  account  of  their  duties  towarcTs~" their 
particular  dioceses,  some  other  tribunal  must  exist  with  power  to 

238  Faith. 

give  infallible  decisions.  This  tribunal  is  the  Pope  speaking 
ex  cathedra.  The  priests  have  not  tins  infallibility  secured  to  them, 
though  their  services  "a^emHispensable  to  the  bishops  in  the  carrying 
out  of  the  teaching  office.  Priests  when  present  in  the  assemblies 
of  bishops  are  so  as  counsellors,  but  without  any  deciding  vote  in 
the  questions  under  consideration.  So  soon  as  the  Church  defines  a 
question  of  doctrine,  every  one  is  bound  before  God  to  submit  under 
pain  of  excommunication. 

A  general  council  is  the  assembly  of  the  bishops  of  the  world 
presided  over  by  the  Pope. 

The  apostles  in  the  year  51  held  the  first  Council  of  Jerusalem, 
and  announced  their  decisions  as  coming  from  God.  Of  the  first  four 
general  councils  St.  Gregory  the  Great  asserted  that  he  held  them  in 
equal  honor  with  the  four  gospels.  Since  the  Council  at  Jerusalem 
there  have  been  twenty  general  councils  assembled.  The  first  of 
these  was  held  at  NicaBa,  in  the  year  325,  to  repel  the  Ariaii  heresy. 
The  following  are  specially  worthy  of  note:  the  Third  Council  at 
Ephesus  in  425,  where  Mary  was  declared  to  be  the  Mother  of  God; 
the  Seventh  General  Council,  or  Second  of  NicaBa  in  787,  where  the 
veneration  of  images  was  declared  lawful;  the  Twelfth  General 
Council  or  Fourth  Lateran  in  1215,  which  imposed  the  obligation  of 
the  Easter  communion;  the  Nineteenth  General  Council  at  Trent 
(1545-1563),  occasioned  by  Luther's  heresies;  the  Twentieth  General 
Council  in  the  Vatican  (1870),  where  the  infallibility  of  the  Pope 
was  defined  as  an  article  of  faith.  The  presence  of  all  the  bishops 
is  not  required  for  a  general  council,  but  the  greater  number  of  them 
must  be  there;  nor  is  a  unanimous  vote  in  any  way  necessary  to 
secure  a  definition;  a  majority  of  votes  approaching  more  or  less  to 
unanimity  is  quite  sufficient.  Thus  in  the  Vatican  Council  five  hun 
dred  and  thirty-three  bishops  voted  for  the  definition  of  Papal  in 
fallibility;  two  voted  against,  and  fifty- two  were  absent  from  the 
meeting.  Nor  is  it  necessary  that  the  Pope  should  preside  in  person ; 
he  may  act  through  his  legates  as  in  the  first,  third,  and  fourth  gen 
eral  councils.  All  that  is  necessary  is  that  the  Pope  should  approve 
of  the  decrees  of  the  council.  Others  besides  bishops  have  a  vote, 
such  as  the  cardinals,  generals  of  religious  Orders,  and  all  who  have 
episcopal  authority,  as  in  the  case  of  many  prelates  and  abbots; 
suffragans  have  also  a  vote  when  they  are  summoned,  as  happened  in 
1870.  The  general  council  only  settles  questions  after  mature  con 
sideration,  relying  generally  on  the  teaching  of  the  Catholic  Church 
in  the  early  ages.  Besides  general  councils  there  are  national  coun 
cils,  or  assemblies  of  the  bishops  of  a  nation  or  kingdom  under  their 
primate,  and  also  provincial  councils  or  meetings  of  the  bishops  and 
dignitaries  of  a  district  under  the  archbishop ;  and  finally  diocesan 
synods,  or  assemblies  of  the  clergy  under  their  bishop.  Such  assem 
blies  have  no  claim  to  infallibility. 

The  general  consent  of  the  bishops  all  over  the  world  con 
firmed  by  the  Pope  is  also  infallible ;  this  may  happen  when  the 
Pope  asks  their  opinion  on  a  question  of  doctrine  or  morals. 

A  case  of  the  kind  happened  in  1854.     The  Pope  sent  round  to 

TJie  Apostles9  Creed.  239 

the  various  bishops  of  the  world  to  ascertain  the  feeling  of  Chris 
tians  at  large  as  regarded  the  Immaculate  Conception  of  Our  Lady. 
As  nearly  all  the  replies  approved  of  the  doctrine,  it  was  solemnly 
denned  as  of  faith.  This  consensus  of  the  bishops,  though  living 
apart  at  the  time,  was  infallible,  because  the  Holy  Spirit  is  not  con 
fined  by  limitations  of  place.  Nor  was  this  solemn  declaration  neces 
sary;  it  was  quite  sufficient  that  all  the  bishops  should  teach  in  the 
same  sense  in  regard  of  any  given  subject  to  make  that  teaching 
infallible;  were  it  otherwise  the  Church  would  be  capable  of  teaching 
heresy,  or  of  falling  away  from  the  truth.  Hence  the  Vatican  Council 
declared  that  not  only  must  that  be  accepted  which  has  been  solemnly 
defined  by  the  Church,  but  also  whatever  is  proposed  by  the  lawful 
and  general  teaching  authority  (Vatican  Council,  3,  3). 

The  Pope  makes  an  infallible  definition  when,  as  teacher  and 
guide  of  the  Church,  he  proposes  to  the  universal  Church  a  doc 
trine  of  faith  or  morals.  These  decrees  are  called  doctrinal. 

The  Vatican  Council  in  1870  decreed  that  all  doctrinal  decisions 
of  the  Pope  were  infallible.  This  is  the  logical  consequence  of  the 
words  of  Christ  to  St.  Peter :  "  Thou  art  Peter,  and  upon  this  rock 
I  will  build  My  Church"  (Matt.  xvi.  18).  If  the  foundation  of  the 
Church  were  to  fail,  it  would  not  be  a  rock  but  a  quicksand.  More 
over  St.  Peter  was  appointed  shepherd  of  the  apostles  and  the  faith 
ful  in  these  words  of  Our  Lord :  "  Feed  My  lambs,  feed  My  sheep  " 
(John  xxi.  15,  17),  and  he  received  power  to  confirm  his  brethren  in 
the  faith  (Luke  xxii.  32).  If  then  the  Pope  were  to  teach  error, 
Our  Lord's  promise  would  have  come  to  naught.  Decisions  in  matters 
of  doctrine  were  held  in  the  greatest  reverence  from  the  earliest 
times.  When  the  Roman  See  condemned  in  417  the  errors  of  Pelagius 
St.  Augustine  cried  out:  "  Rome  has  spoken;  the  cause  is  at  an  end." 
And  St.  Cyprian  says :  "  No  heretics  can  gain  admittance  to  the 
Church."  Even  general  councils  call  the  Bishop  of  Rome  "  the 
father  and  teacher  of  all  Christians"  (Council  of  Florence,  1439), 
and  the  Roman  Church  "  the  Mother  and  Teacher  of  the  faithful " 
(Council  of  Lateran,  iv.,  1215)  ;  of  course  the  Church  understood 
here  is  the  teaching,  the  "  hearing  "  Church  having  no  claim  to  teach. 
The  Pope  must  be  infallible  for  this  reason,  too,  that  "  he  has  full 
power  to  govern  the  whole  Church  "  (Council  of  Florence)  ;  for  with 
this  power  is  necessarily  linked  authority  to  teach.  The  supreme 
teaching  office  of  the  Church  involves  infallibility  in  accordance 
with  the  divine  promise  of  the  assistance  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  In 
consequence  of  this  the  decisions  of  the  Pope  are  infallible  of  them 
selves,  quite  independently  of  the  consent  of  the  bishops  (Council  of 
Vatican,  iv.  4).  Were  it  otherwise  the  rock  (or  successor  of 
St.  Peter)  would  derive  its  strength  and  solidity  from  the  building 
raised  upon  it  (the  Church).  It  would,  however,  be  quite  wrong  to 
assert  that  the  Pope  is  infallible  in  all  things;  for  he  is  a  man  and 
can  make  mistakes  as  other  men  in  writing,  speaking,  etc.  He  can 
also  commit  sin  as  other  men,  and  unhappily  some  of  the  Popes  led 
very  scandalous  lives.  When  the  Pope  gives  a  decision  on  a  doctrinal 
matter,  it  is  Christ  Who  keeps  him  from  error  by  the  agency  of  the 
Holy  Ghost;  moreover  the  bishops  are  always  consulted  before  any 
such  decision  is  given.  Addresses  to  pilgrims,  letters  to  kings  and 

240  Faith. 

princes,  the  brief  of  suppression  of  the  Society  of  Jesus  in  1773,  are 
not  infallible  pronouncements.  Doctrinal  decisions  are  usually  ac 
companied  by  sentence  of  excommunication  against  those  who  refuse 
to  submit  to  them ;  hence  such  decisions  are  binding  for  all  Catholics. 
Although  the  Pope  is  infallible  in  his  solemn  decisions,  general  coun 
cils  are  not  for  that  reason  superfluous;  for  they  confer  a  greater 
external  solemnity  on  the  Pope's  decrees,  and  the  teaching  of  the 
Church  can  be  more  thoroughly  examined  in  these  assemblies. 
Hence  these  general  councils  may,  under  certain  circumstances,  be 
necessary  as  well  as  useful.  Even  the  apostles  held  a  general  council 
at  Jerusalem,  though  each  single  apostle  was  infallible  in  his  office 
as  teacher. 

3.  The  Church  pronounces  infallible  judgments  in  the  follow 
ing  cases:  On  doctrines  of  faith  and  morals  and  their  meaning 
and  interpretation,  on  the  Holy  Scripture  and  Tradition  and  their 

If,  for  instance,  the  Church  declares  that  the  punishments  of 
hell  are  eternal,  the  declaration  is  infallible,  for  it  is  made  on  a 
doctrine  of  faith;  or  again  if  it  declare  that  the  observation  of  Sun 
day  is  a  command  of  God,  the  declaration  turns  on  teaching  with 
regard  to  morals  and  is  therefore  infallible.  Christ  made  a  special 
promise  to  His  apostles  that  the  Holy  Ghost  should  teach  them  all 
truth  (John  xvi.  13)  ;  in  other  words  that  the  Holy  Ghost  would  teach 
them  all  truth  bearing  on  religion ;  and  that  religion  included  moral 
ity  as  well  as  belief  may  be  gathered  from  the  words  of  Christ  just  be 
fore  His  ascent  into  heaven :  "  Going  therefore  teach  ye  all  nations 
.  .  .  teaching  them  to  observe  all  things  whatsoever  I  have  com 
manded  you"  (Matt,  xxviii.  19,  20),  and  with  regard  to  this  last 
order  He  promised  them  the  assistance  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  con 
sequently,  infallibility.  Since  the  Church  derives  her  doctrine  from 
two  sources,  Holy  Scripture  and  Tradition,  it  must  be  infallible  in  its 
interpretation  of  both. 

Moreover,  it  is  certain  that  the  Church  is  infallible  when 
it  declares  that  any  given  opinion  on  faith  or  morals  is  contrary 
to  revealed  teaching,  as  also  in  the  canonization  of  saints. 

It  is  the  common  opinion  of  theologians  that  the  Church  is  infal 
lible  in  judging  whether  a  proposition  is  opposed  to  revealed  teach 
ing.  If,  for  example,  the  Church  were  to  condemn  the  assertion  that 
man  is  the  offspring  of  a  pair  of  apes  as  contrary  to  revelation,  it 
would  be  acting  quite  within  the  limits  of  its  infallibility,  and  on  a 
subject  most  intimately  connected  with  revealed  doctrine.  If  the 
Church  can  see  truth  it  must  also  be  able  to  recognize  error.  From 
the  earliest  times  the  Church  has  condemned  error,  whether  taught  by 
writing  or  by  word  of  mouth.  At  the  Council  of  Nica3a  (325),  the 
errors  of  Arius  were  condemned  by  the  bishops.  Up  to  the  present 
day  the  Pope  has  continually  condemned  books  which  have  attacked 
faith  or  morals ;  and  this  could  not  have  been  unless  God  had  conferred 
such  powers.  Any  mistake  in  either  beatifying  or  canonizing  seems 
well-nigh  impossible  even  on  natural  grounds,  on  account  of  the  strict 
examination  insisted  on.  By  the  act  of  canonization,  the  veneration 

TJie  Apostles'  Creed.  241 

of  a  saint,  and  so  to  a  certain  extent  the  acknowledgment  of  the 
Church's  belief  in  him,  is  imposed  on  the  faithful,  and  he  is  then 
officially  recognized  in  the  Church's  offices,  as  in  the  Mass  and 
Breviary ;  hence  if  any  one  not  a  saint  were  declared  holy,  the  whole 
Church  would  approve  an  error.  Such  a  supposition  is  impossible. 
Pope  Benedict  XIV.  declares  his  own  experience  in  these  cases  of  the 
assistance  of  the  Holy  Spirit  in  removing  insuperable  difficulties 
which  beset  a  process,  or,  on  the  other  hand,  in  breaking  it  off  en 
tirely.  Finally  the  Church  in  its  decisions  whether  of  beatification 
or  canonization  is  dealing  with  things  which  have  the  closest  con 
nection  with  doctrine  of  faith  or  morals. 


1.  The  ministers  of  the  Church  fall  into  three  classes  of  dis 
tinct  dignity  and  power:    bishops,  priests,  and  deacons  (Council 
of  Trent,  23  c.  4.  Can.  6). 

These  were  foreshadowed  in  the  high  priest,  the  priests,  and  the 
Levites  of  the  Temple,  as  well  as  in  Our  Lord,  the  apostles,  and  dis 
ciples.  To  the  apostles  Our  Lord  said :  "  As  the  Father  hath  sent 
Me,  so  I  send  you"  (John  xx.  21);  to  the  disciples  merely:  "Go, 
behold  I  send  you"  (Luke  x.  3).  The  apostles  were  sent  to  all  the 
nations  of  the  earth  (Matt,  xxviii.  20) ;  the  disciples  only  to  those 
places  where  the  Lord  was  Himself  to  go  (Luke  x.  1).  The  bishops 
are  now  the  successors  of  the  apostles  (Council  of  Trent,  xxiii.  4) ; 
hence  the  bishops  are  of  higher  rank  than  priests  because  they  belong 
to  a  higher  order  of  the  clergy  and  have  higher  orders ;  besides  that 
they  have  greater  powers,  being  the  only  real  pastors  of  the  flock, 
and  in  virtue  of  their  jurisdiction  deciding  how  far  any  one  else 
may  share  in  their  government  of  those  committed  to  their  charge. 
"  The  bishop  alone  can  give  orders,"  says  St.  Jerome,  and  according 
to  St.  Cyprian  he  is  the  only  ordinary  minister  of  Confirmation. 
The  Council  of  Trent  assigned  to  bishops  many  other  privileges 
beyond  those  enjoyed  by  the  other  ministers  of  the  Church.  In 
addition  they  have  a  judicial  vote  in  councils.  Priests  rank  higher 
than  deacons,  having  higher  orders  and  greater  powers ;  they  can  offer 
the  holy  sacrifice,  and  forgive  sins,  while  deacons  can  only  baptize, 
preach,  and  give  communion. 

2.  This  hierarchy  was  in  force  in  the  time  of  the  apostles. 

We  see  in  the  Scriptures  Timothy  appointed  with  powers  to 
judge  priests  (1  Tim.  v.  19),  to  ordain  them  (1  Tim.  v.  22),  and  to 
appoint  them  to  various  cities  (Tit.  i.  5).  St.  Ignatius  of  Antioch 
(107  A.D.)  names  the  three  orders :  "  Let  all  obey  the  bishops  as  Jesus 
obeyed  the  Father;  let  them  obey  the  priests  as  the  apostles,  and 
honor  the  deacons  as  being  the  messengers  of  God."  Similar  expres 
sions  occur  in  Clement  of  Rome  (100  A.D.),  and  Clement  of  Alex 
andria  (217  A.D.).  There  was,  however,  a  certain  vagueness  in  the 
use  of  terms  in  the  time  of  the  apostles ;  priests  were  called  "  elders  " 
or  "  overseers."  The  former  title  owed  its  origin  to  the  Jewish  con 
verts,  the  latter  to  the  heathen.  In  every  community  there  were  sev- 

242  faith. 

eral  priests  (1  Tim.  iv.  14),  of  whom  one  was  the  superior  or  "high 
priest,"  known  in  later  times  as  the  bishop.  He  was  often  called 
priest  merely  because  he  was  in  reality  a  priest;  even  the  apostles 
Petepand  John  called  themselves  priests  (1  Pet.  v.  1;  2  John  i.  1). 

3.  The  episcopal  and  priestly  office  was  instituted  by  Christ 
Himself;    the  diaconate  by  the  apostles. 

The  deacons  were  appointed  by  the  apostles  to  distribute  alms, 
and  were  consecrated  to  this  duty  by  the  laying  on  of  hands,  accom 
panied  with  prayer  (Acts  vi.  6) ;  they  also  had  spiritual  functions 
as  preaching  (as  in  the  case  of  St.  Stephen)  and  baptizing  (as  in  the 
case  of  St.  Philip).  In  the  early  ages  there  were  also  deaconesses — 
widows  who  tended  the  sick  and  taught  young  girls.  They  were  no 
part  of  the  hierarchy,  since  it  was  a  fixed  principle  in  the  Church 
that  no  woman  should  preach  (1  Cor.  xiv.  34),  because  she  is  subject 
to  man  and  was  first  led  astray  in  paradise  (1  Tim.  ii.  12,  etc.). 

4.  Besides  these  three  classes  there  are  other  degrees  varying 
in  their  powers :  for  example,  Pope,  cardinals,  archbishops. 

The  distribution  of  authority  is  the  basis  of  this  classification: 
all,  without  exception,  owe  obedience  to  the  Pope ;  the  bishop  rules  all 
the  clergy  of  his  diocese;  the  clergy  are  in  authority  over  those  com 
mitted  to  their  charge  (1  Pet.  v.  5;  Heb.  xiii.  17).  The  Church  has 
its  differences  of  rank  like  an  army  (Council  of  Trent,  xxiii.  24) ; 
without  these  grades  it  would  be  a  society  without  organization. 


"When,"  says  St.  Cyprian,  "the  devil  saw  that  the  worship  of 
idols  was  abolished,  and  the  heathen  temples  emptied,  he  bethought 
him  of  a  new  poison,  and  led  men  into  error  under  cover  of  the  Chris 
tian  religion,  the  poison  of  false  doctrine  and  pride,  through  which 
more  than  two  hundred  churches  have  started  up  in  opposition  to  the 
true  Church  founded  by  Christ."  Now  God  has  ordained  that  men 
should  come  to  knowledge  of  the  truth;  i.e.,  of  the  true  Church  as 
distinguished  from  all  others  by  certain  marks. 

1.  The  true  Church  is  that  one  which  is  most  persecuted  by 
the  world,  and  which  has  received  God's  seal  in  the  form  of 

Christ  often  spoke  to  His  disciples  of  these  persecutions :  "  The 
servant  is  not  greater  than  his  Master.  If  they  have  persecuted  Me 
they  will  also  persecute  you"  (John  xv.  20).  "  They  will  deliver  you 
up  in  councils,  and  they  will  scourge  you  in  their  synagogues  .  .  . 
you  shall  be  hated  by  all  men  for  My  name's  sake"  (Matt.  x.  17-22). 
"Yea,  the  hour  cometh  that  whosoever  killeth  you,  will  think  that 
he  doth  a  service  to  God"  (John  xvi.  2).  "Because  you  are  not  of 
the  world,  but  I  have  chosen  you  out  of  the  world,  therefore  the 
world  hateth  you"  (John  xv.  19).  Never  in  the  history  of  the 
Catholic  Church  has  it  been  free  from  persecution.  Whatever  be 
the  differences  between  the  pects  they  unite  against  the  Church.  The 
apostles,  especially  St.  Paul,  were  objects  of  hate  to  the  Jews  (Acts 

The  Apostles*  Creed.  243 

xiii.  50;  xvii.  8),  and  St.  John  (166  A.D.)  testifies  that  their  hatred  of 
the  Christians  had  not  died  out  in  his  day.  The  present  day  is  not 
wanting  in  examples  in  the  sufferings  inflicted  on  religious  com 
munities,  in  the  interference  of  the  secular  governments  in  things 
spiritual,  in  the  opposition  made  to  processions  and  meetings  and 
other  devout  practices.  Can  any  Church  be  the  true  Church  which 
does  not  oppose  the  spirit  of  the  world  ?  Then  too  it.  is  only  in  the 
Catholic  Church  that  we  have  miracles :  those,  for  instance,  of  the 
apostles,  all  the  saints  worked  both  in  their  lifetime  and  after  death, 
either  at  their  graves  or  by  the  application  of  their  relics.  We  know 
that  God  would  work  miracles  only  in  confirmation  of  the  truth. 

2.  The  true  Church  is  that  one  in  which  the  successor  of  St. 
Peter  is  to  be  found. 

The  Church  rests  on  a  rock  and  that  rock  is  Peter :  "  Thou  art 
Peter  and  upon  this  rock  I  will  build  My  Church"  (Matt,  xxviii.  20). 
"  Where  Peter  is,  there  is  the  Church,"  says  St.  Ambrose. 

3.  The  true  Church  is  known  by  the  following  four  marks: 
she  is  One,  Holy,  Catholic,  Apostolic. 

The  Catholic  Church  alone  has  these  marks: 

1.  The  true  Church  is  One.  She  has  at  all  times  and  in 
all  places  the  same  doctrine,  the  same  means  of  grace,  and  only 
one  Head. 

Truth  can  only  be  one;  hence  the  teaching  of  the  Church  cannot 
change.  Christ  wished  His  Church  to  be  one;  for  that  He  prayed 
at  the  Last  Supper  (John  xvii.  20) ;  "  There  shall  be  one  fold  and  one 
shepherd "  (John  x.  16) ;  He  appointed  one  Head  for  the  whole 
Church  (John  xxi.  17).  The  Catholic  Church  is  One:  her  Cate 
chisms  the  world  over  teach  precisely  the  same  doctrine.  Every 
where  the  holy  sacrifice  is  offered,  and  the  sacraments  given  in  the 
same  way;  the  same  ceremonies  and  feasts  are  observed  all  over  the 
world.  All  Catholics  acknowledge  the  Pope  as  Head  of  the  Church. 
If  there  were  antipopes  it  is  none  the  less  true  that  some  one  was  the 
true  Pope ;  the  existence  of  many  pretenders  to  a  throne  does  not  ex 
clude  the  claim  of  the  true  king.  Nor  can  heresy  destroy  this  unity, 
for  the  heretic  who  refuses  to  submit  is  no  longer  a  member  of  the 
Church.  None  need  accuse  the  Church  of  want  of  progress  because 
it  holds  fast  by  its  old  established  doctrines ;  there  is  110  true  prog 
ress  in  giving  up  the  truth  and  adopting  error.  The  truth  cannot 
change ;  hence  Bossuet  might  well  say :  "  Protestantism,  thou  art 
changeable,  therefore  thou  canst  not  be  the  truth  !  " 

2.  The  true  Church  is  Holy,  i.e.,  it  has  the  means  and  the 
endeavor  to  lead  all  men  to  holiness. 

Christ  founded  the  Church  for  the  very  purpose  of  making  men 
holy.  The  Catholic  Church  is  holy.  All  its  teaching  is  lofty  and 
pure;  the  great  principle  underlying  its  commands  are  self -denial 
and  the  love  of  one's  neighbor;  all  its  sacraments,  and  especially  pen 
ance  and  the  Holy  Eucharist  are  great  aids  to  the  sanctification  of 
mankind,  and  the  complete  following  out  of  the  evangelical  counsels 

244  Faith. 

can  lead  a  man  to  the  highest  point  of  perfection;  moreover  the 
Catholic  Church  has  a  host  of  saints,  whose  holiness  is  attested  by 
miracles.  The  misdeeds  of  some  members,  or  abuses  occurring 
within  the  Church  are  due  not  to  the  Church,  but  to  the  perversity  of 
men.  Even  among  the  apostles  there  was  a  traitor,  and  Christ  com 
pared  some  members  of  the  Church  to  weeds  and  worthless  fish.  Can 
any  Church  be  holy  which  adopts  Luther's  teaching  that  faith  alone 
is  sufficient  for  salvation,  and  good  works  unnecessary  ?  or  Calvin's 
doctrine  that  some  men  are  predestined  by  God  to  hell  fire  ?  or  any 
Church  which,  on  its  own  confession,  owns  that  none  of  its  members 
have  been  saints  and  their  sanctity  confirmed  by  miracle  ? 

3.  The  true  Church  is  universal  or  Catholic,  i.e.,  she  is  em 
powered  to  receive  men  into  her  bosom  in  all  places  and  all 

Christ  died  for  all  men,  and  on  ascending  into  heaven  gave  His 
apostles  the  mission  to  teach  all  the  nations  of  the  earth  till  the  end 
of  time  (Matt,  xxviii.  20).  Hence  His  Church  was  meant  to  be  for 
all  nations,  -and  this  is  confirmed  by  the  miracle  of  tongues  on  the 
first  Pentecost.  The  Catholic  Church  is  universal;  her  teaching 
applies  to  all  people,  the  polished  Greek,  the  victorious  Roman,  the 
rude  barbarian  as  well  as  to  the  outcast  slave.  At  present  the  Catholic 
Church  is  spread  over  the  whole  world.  "  Heretics  are  everywhere," 
said  St.  Augustine,  "  but  no  particular  heresy  is  everywhere."  The 
Church  has  about  260,000,000  members,  hence  it  is  more  widespread 
than  any  other  religion,  and  is  continually  sending  missionaries  to 
the  heathen.  Can,  then,  any  Church  which  depends  entirely  on  the 
government,  as,  for  instance,  the  Russian  Church,  or  the  Anglican, 
which  is  wholly  national  in  England,  be  the  true  Church  ?  or  can 
one  which  has  no  real  success  among  the  heathen  have  a  claim  to 
truth  ? 

4.  The  true  Church  is  Apostolic;   i.e.,  she  comes  down  from 
the  time  of  the  apostles,  her  teaching  is  always  what  it  was  in 
the  time  of  the  apostles,  and  her  ministers  are  legitimate  suc 
cessors  of  the  apostles. 

The  Church  is  built  on  the  foundation  of  the  apostles  of  which 
Christ  is  the  corner-stone  (Eph.  ii.  20).  "  That  is  the  true  Church," 
says  St.  Jerome,  "  which  was  founded  by  the  apostles  and  endures 
unto  the  present  day."  The  Catholic  Church  is  Apostolic;  it  has 
lasted  nineteen  hundred  years,  Luther  himself  confessed  that  it  was 
the  oldest.  The  teaching  of  the  oldest  of  the  Fathers  agrees  per 
fectly  with  our  Catechism,  and  our  services  are  substantially  the 
same  as  those  of  the  first  ages. 

The  consideration  of  these  notes  and  marks  has,  in  the  course 
of  ages,  led  many  of  the  noblest  of  men  into  the  bosom  of  the 
Catholic  Church. 

It  is  remarkable  that  men  of  the  greatest  learning  and  virtue 
have,  even  in  the  face  of  great  sacrifices,  entered  the  Catholic 
Church,  while  those  who  have  deserted  it  have  generally  shown  by 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  245 

their  lives  what  they  really  were.  We  have  reason  to  rejoice  in  our 
religion  that  it  oilers  us  such  special  consolation  in  trouble  and  at 
the  hour  of  death.  Thus  Melancthon  wrote  to  his  Catholic  mother : 
"  The  Protestant  faith  is  the  best  one  to  live  in,  but  the  Catholic  is 
the  best  to  die  in,"  and  again :  "  The  new  religion  makes  the  best 
show,  the  Catholic  gives  most  security." 


In  other  words :  "  Outside  the  Catholic  Church  there  is  no  salva 

1.  The  Catholic  Church  alone  gives  salvation;  i.e.,  the  Catho 
lic  Church  alone  possesses  those  means  which  lead  to  salvation, 
viz.,  the  doctrine  of  Christ,  the  means  of  salvation  appointed  by 
Christ,  and  the  teachers  and  guides  of  the  Church  established  by 

The  Church  cannot  teach  that  truth  and  error  lead  equally  well 
to  salvation;  she  makes  no  declaration  as  to  who  is  saved,  but  states 
only  what  is  necessary  for  salvation.  The  judgment  of  particular 
individuals  is  left  to  the  God  Who  searches  hearts  (Ps.  vii.  10). 
Her  doctrine  is  not  a  declaration  of  intolerance  to  the  individual,  but 
of  intolerance  of  error,  such  an  intolerance  as  God  Himself  expressed 
when  He  forbade  false  gods  to  appear  before  Him  (1  Cor.  v.).  So  far 
is  the  Church  from  hating  those  outside  her  pale  that  in  her  public 
prayers  on  Good  Friday  she  begs  God's  mercy  for  them.  The  perse 
cutions  of  the  Middle  Ages  formed  no  part  of  the  work  of  the 
Church,  which  desired  not  the  death,  but  the  conversion  of  the  sinner ; 
it  was  the  civil  power  which  used  force  to  repress  heretics,  because 
as  a  rule  they  disturbed  the  public  peace  and  morality.  The  Church 
is  the  way  to  salvation ;  it  differs  in  this  respect  from  the  synagogue ; 
the  latter  merely  pointed  out  the  way  of  salvation  in  the  distant 
future,  while  the  Church  claims  itself  to  be  the  true  way.  The 
Catholic  Church  is  distinct  from  the  heretical  churches  which  have 
corrupted  Christ's  doctrine  and  have  rejected  the  means  of  grace, 
especially  Mass  and  penance.  Their  way  is  a  roundabout  way,  or 
the  wrong  way.  "  The  further  one  goes  out  of  the  right  path,"  says 
St.  Augustine,  "  the  further  he  is  from  the  goal  of  his  journey." 

2.  Hence  every  man  is  bound  to  become  a  member  of  the 
Catholic  Church. 

Some  will  say  that  a  man  ought  not  to  change  his  religion; 
they  might  just  as  well  argue  that  a  man  may  keep  an  inheritance 
which  his  father  obtained  unjustly.  Others  say :  "  One  faith  is  as 
good^as  another,  and  all  lead  equally  well  to  heaven."  This  is  to  pro 
fess  indifferentism.  It  is  certain  that  one  religion  only  can  be  the 
true  one,  i.e.,  the  one  revealed  by  God;  and  reason  alone  would  tell 
us  that  the  truth  is  what  we  should  aim  at.  It  is  absurd  to  suppose 
that  God  is  unconcerned  whether  man  adore  Him  or  sticks  and 
stones,  or  whether  Christ  be  regarded  as  His  Son  or  as  a  blasphemer. 
Why  should  Christ,  and  after  Him  the  apostles,  preach  the  Gospel 

246  Faith. 

amid  so  much  persecution,  if  it  were  of  no  moment  what  a  man  be 
lieved  ?  Why  were  the  apostles  so  vehement  in  denouncing  those  who 
perverted  the  teaching  of  Christ  (Gal.  i.  8;  2  John  i.  10)  ?  Why 
should  God  have  converted  Saul,  and  sent  an  angel  to  Cornelius  ? 
The  apostles  gave  the  reason :  "  There  is  no  other  name  under 
heaven  given  to  men  whereby  we  must  be  saved"  (Acts  iv.  12). 
And  Christ  said :  "  I  am  the  way,  the  truth  and  the  life.  No  man 
cometh  to  the  Father  but  by  Me"  (John  xiv.  6),  Hence  it  is  that  so 
many  eminent  people  enter  the  Church,  despite  the  sacrifices  en 
tailed.  Queen  Christina,  the  only  daughter  of  Gustavus  Adolphus  of 
Sweden,  the  arch-enemy  of  the  Catholics,  studied  the  Catholic 
teaching  and  was  persuaded  of  its  truth ;  and  as  the  laws  of  the  land 
forbade  her  to  practise  her  faith,  she  resigned  her  crown  and  spent 
the  rest  of  her  days  in  Rome.  So,  too,  in  the  beginning  of  the  cen 
tury  Count  Stolberg  resigned  his  post  on  his  conversion.  In  England 
during  the  last  few  decades  very  many  most  distinguished  men  have 
entered  the  Church,  especially  Cardinals  Newman  and  Manning. 
Even  from  Judaism  there  have  been  remarkable  conversions,  as,  e.g., 
those  of  Ratisbonne  and  Liebermann. 

3.  Whoever  through  his  own  fault  remains  outside  the  Church 
will  not  be  saved. 

A  man  who,  knowing  the  Catholic  Church  to  be  the  true  one, 
leaves  it,  say,  to  make  a  good  marriage,  or  to  push  on  his  business, 
or  for  some  such  unworthy  motive,  will  not  be  saved;  so,  too,  of  the 
man  who  from  a  cowardly  fear  of  the  reproaches  or  the  disesteem  of 
others,  does  not  enter  the  Church.  The  same  is  true  of  the  man  who 
having  solid  doubts  as  to  whether  his  Church  is  the  true  one,  takes  no 
pains  to  find  out  the  truth.  Such  as  these  love  the  darkness  better 
than  the  light  (John  iii.  19).  "He  cannot  have  God  for  a  Father, 
who  has  not  the  Church  for  a  Mother,"  says  St.  Cyprian.  "  He  who 
has  not  Christ  for  a  Head,"  are  the  words  of  St.  Augustine,  "  cannot 
be  saved;  and  he  who  does  not  belong  to  the  body  of  Christ,  i.e.,  to 
the  Church  of  Christ,  has  not  Christ  for  his  Head."  "  He  who  breaks 
away  from  the  Church  separates  himself  from  Christ"  (Council  of 
Lateran,  iv.). 

If,  however,  a  man,  through  no  fault  of  his  own,  remains 
outside  the  Church,  he  may  be  saved  if  he  lead  a  God-fearing 
life;  for  such  a  one  is  to  all  intents  and  purposes  a  member  of 
the  Catholic  Church. 

The  majority  of  men  who  have  been  brought  up  in  heresy  think 
that  they  belong  to  the  true  Church ;  their  error  is  not  due  to  hatred  of 
God.  A  man  who  leads  a  good  life  and  has  the  love  of  God  in  his 
heart,  really  belongs  to  the  Church,  and  such  a  one  is  saved,  not  by  his 
heresy,  but  by  belonging  to  the  Church.  St.  Peter  said :  "  In  every  na 
tion  he  that  feareth  God  and  worketh  justice  is  acceptable  to  Him  " 
(Acts  x.  35).  "The  Catholic  Church,"  says  St.  Gregory  the  Great, 
"  embraces  all  the  just  from  Abel  to  the  last  of  the  elect  at  the  end  of 
the  world."  All  who  lived  up  to  their  lights  were  Christians,  though 
they  might  have  been  looked  upon  as  godless,  as,  e.g.,  Socrates  among 
the  Greeks,  Abraham  and  Elias  among  the  Jews.  They  do  not  belong 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  247 

to  the  body  of  the  Church,  that  is,  they  are  not  externally  in  union 
Math  the  Church,  but  they  are  of  the  soul  of  the  Church,  i.e.,  they 
have  the  sentiments  which  the  members  of  the  Church  should  have. 

Thus  the  Catholic  Church  has  members  both  visible  and  in 

The  visible  members  are  those  who  have  been  received  into  the 
Church  by  Baptism.  The  following  are  not  members:  The  unbap- 
tized  (heathens,  Jews,- Mohammedans),  formal  heretics  (Protestants), 
and  schismatics  (the  Greeks),  those  who  are  excommunicated.  The 
invisible  members  are  those  who  without  any  fault  of  their  own  are 
outside  the  Church  leading  God-fearing  lives. 

The  visible  members  of  the  Church  are  called  living  or  dead 
members,  according  as  they  are  in  the  state  of  sanctifying  grace 
or  not. 

It  is  an  error  to  think  that  those  who  have  fallen  into  grave  sin 
are  no  longer  members  of  the  Church.  The  Church  is  like  a  field, 
in  which  grow  both  wheat  and  cockle  (Matt.  xiii.  24),  or  like  a  net 
which  contains  fish  both  good  and  bad  (Matt.  xiii.  47).  It  is  not 
enough  to  belong  to  the  Church;  a  man  should  also  live  up  to  his 
belief,  otherwise  "  is  membership  will  help  only  to  his  greater  con 


The  State  might  be  denned  as  an  institution  having  for  its  end 
the  promotion  of  the  temporal  well-being  of  its  members.  Church  and 
State  have  similar  ends  in  view,  but  the  Church  looks  mainly  to  the 
eternal  welfare  of  its  members.  Both  have  their  power  from  God, 
the  Church  holding  hers  from  Christ,  while  the  State  receives  its 
powers,  not  from  an  assembly  of  men,  but  from  God  (Leo  XIII.). 
There  are  various  points  of  difference  between  Church  and  State: 
the  Church  is  one,  while  States  are  many;  the  State  includes 
one  or  more  nations,  the  Church  embraces  all  the  nations  of  the 
earth;  States  grow  up  and  pass  away,  the  Church  remains  forever. 
The  Church  recognizes  every  form  of  existing  government,  for  there 
is  nothing  in  the  various  forms  that  contradicts  Catholic  teaching 
(Leo  XIII.).  Hence  Leo  XIII.  has  frequently  enjoined  on  the 
French  monarchists  to  recognize  and  support  the  existing  republic. 
Christ  Plimself  taught  that  what  was  Caesar's  should  be  given  to 
Csesar  (Matt.  xxii.  21). 

1.  The  Church  is,  in  its  own  department,  absolutely  inde 
pendent  of  the  State,  for  Christ  left  the  teaching  and  government 
of  His  Church  to  the  apostles  and  their  successors,  not  to  any 
temporal  sovereign. 

Hence  the  State  has  no  claim  to  dictate  to  Christians  what  they 
are  to  believe  and  reject,  nor  to  instruct  priests  what  they  are  to 
preach,  nor  how  and  when  they  are  to  give  the  sacraments,  say  Mass, 
etc.  Such  interference  has  always  been  resented  by  the  Church; 

248  Faith. 

thus  Hosius,  at  the  Council  of  Nicsea,  addressed  the  Roman  emperor 
when  the  latter  was  meddling  in  matters  of  faith :  "  Here  you  have  no 
right  to  dictate  to  us ;  it  is  rather  your  duty  to  follow  our  commands." 
The  State,  too,  is  in  its  own  affairs  independent  of  the  Church. 
"  The  power  of  the  State  as  well  as  that  of  the  Church  is  circum 
scribed  by  limits  within  which  it  can  work  uncontrolled "  (Leo 
XIII.).  There  are  many  points  however  where  these  limits  touch; 
hence  a  mutual  agreement  is  necessary  on  both  sides.  If  contrary 
orders  were  given  in  the  same  matter  strife  would  arise,  and  the 
subject  would  not  know  where  his  duty  lay  (Leo  XIII.).  Between 
the  two  powers  there  should  be  some  such  union  as  there  is 
between  the  body  and  soul  in  man  (Leo  XIII.).  Agreements 
between  State  and  Church  are  of  frequent  occurrence  in  his 
tory:  they  are  called  Concordats.  These  are  often  conspicuous  proofs 
of  the  tender  love  of  the  Church  in  pushing  her  mildness  and  toler 
ation  as  far  as  is  consistent  with  her  duty  (Leo  XIII.). 

2.  The  Church  is  an  essential  factor  in  promoting  the  welfare 
of  the  State,  for  she  teaches  obedience  to  authority,  prevents  many 
crimes,  incites  men  to  noble  endeavor,  and  unites  together  various 

Plutarch  speaks  of  religion  forming  a  better  protection  for  a  city 
than  its  walls.  The  Church  teaches  that  the  civil  authority  has  its 
power  from  God  (Rom.  xiii.  1),  and  that  even  wicked  rulers  are  to 
be  obeyed  (1  Pet.  ii.  18).  How  many  sinners  have  been  rescued  by 
the  Church  and  changed  into  saints  and  benefactors  of  mankind  ! 
How  many  have  been  restrained  from  crime  by  the  teaching  of  the 
Church,  or  God's  judgments !  How  much  unjustly  acquired  property 
has  been  restored,  and  how  many  enemies  reconciled  !  More  than 
this,  the  Church  teaches  that  salvation  depends  on  works  of  mercy, 
and  makes  it  a  point  of  duty  for  her  members  to  assist  their  suffer 
ing  brethren.  How  many  institutions  for  orphans,  for  the  sick  and 
blind  and  deaf-mutes,  etc.,  owe  their  foundation  to  the  servants  of  the 
Church !  Indeed,  the  needy  are  the  Church's  first  care.  Moreover  the 
Church  binds  the  nations  together  in  the  bonds  of  brotherhood,  both 
by  a  common  profession  of  faith  and  by  the  precept  of  charity. 
Hence  it  is  that  as  far  as  possible  the  priests  of  the  Church  should 
keep  aloof  from  all  strife  between  nations. 

In  consequence  of  this  all  good  rulers  and  statesmen  have 
supported  the  Church  to  the  best  of  their  power. 

Such  was  the  policy  of  Constantine  the  Great,  of  Charlemagne, 
of  St.  Stephen,  King  of  Hungary,  and  St.  Wenceslaus,  King  of 
Bohemia.  Rulers  who  reject  the  Church  saw  at  the  branch  which 
supports  them;  the  people  see  in  them  no  longer  the  representatives 
of  God  but  merely  the  elected  of  the  people  removable  at  the  people's 

The  States  which  have  persecuted  the  Church  have  always 
sooner  or  later  experienced  the  evil  results  of  so  doing. 

Our  Lord's  words  are  very  apt  here:  "Every  kingdom  divided 
against  itself  shall  be  brought  to  desolation"  (Luke  xi.  17).  Re- 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  249 

ligion  is  to  the  State  what  the  soul  is  to  the  body.  "  The  nation  and 
the  kingdom  that  will  not  serve  Thee  shall  perish"  (Is.  Ix.  12). 
"  The  surest  sign  of  ruin  in  a  State,"  writes  Machiavelli,  "  is  when 
religion  is  neglected."  The  fall  of  the  great  Koman  empire  and  the 
horrors  of  the  French  revolution  may  be  traced  to  the  same  cause. 
Even  Napoleon  confessed  that  no  nation  could  be  governed  without 
religion.  The  absence  of  religion  means  the  introduction  of  crime: 
"  There  is  no  knowledge  of  God  in  the  land.  Cursing,  and  lying,  and 
killing,  and  theft,  and  adultery  have  overflowed"  (Osee  iv.  1,  2). 
Our  prisons  are  filled  with  people  who  for  the  most  part  neglect  relig 

3.  The  Church  was,  from  the  earliest  times,  the  patron  of  true 
education  and  culture. 

It  is  to  the  interest  of  the  Church  to  promote  culture.  Ignorance 
and  immorality  are  usually  close  companions.  The*  world  is  a  book 
displaying  the  wisdom  of  God;  the  more  we  know  of  this  book,  the 
more  we  shall  know  of  God,  and  the  more  will  our  love  for  Him  be 
increased.  Hence  it  is  the  duty  of  the  Church  to  encourage  scientific 
research  (Leo  XIII.).  It  was  Christianity  which  tamed  the  wild 
nations  of  Europe,  civilizing  them  and  making  them  the  rulers  of 
ether  peoples  (Leo  XIII.) •  "Had  the  Church  been  established  with 
the  view  of  ministering  to  the  temporal  wants  of  man,  it  could  not 
have  conferred  greater  benefits  than  it  has  done,"  is  the  judgment  of 
St.  Augustine  on  the  work  of  the  Church. 

It  was  the  Church  which  first  charged  itself  with  the  educa 
tion  of  the  young  and  founded  the  first  schools. 

The  schools  of  the  monastery,  cathedral  and  parish  in  the  time 
of  Charlemagne  owed  their  origin  to  the  Church.  Most  of  the  uni 
versities  owe  their  existence  to  the  Pope.  Whole  Orders  of  Religious, 
such  as  the  Benedictines,  Jesuits,  Christian  Brothers  and  others  de 
vote  themselves  to  the  education  of  youth.  The  success  of  the  Jesuits 
was  acknowledged  even  by  their  enemies,  and  in  spite  of  their  sup 
pression  in  1773  Frederick  of  Prussia,  and  Catherine  of  Russia, 
neither  of  them  Catholics,  retained  them  to  instruct  the  youth  of 
their  kingdoms. 

It  was  the  Church  which  rescued  the  great  works  of  an 
tiquity  from  destruction. 

The  monks  of  the  Middle  Ages  transcribed  the  works  of  the 
heathen  philosophers  and  historians,  thus  preserving  them  to  pos 
terity.  The  great  libraries  of  the  monasteries,  as  well  as  the 
museums  and  libraries  of  the  Popes,  preserved  many  treasures.  We 
might  remark,  too,  that  the  Benedictines  have  produced  sixteen 
thousand  authors  and  the  Jesuits,  in  their  comparatively  short  exist 
ence,  twelve  thousand. 

It  was  the  Church  which,  from  early  times,  raised  the  noblest 

Such  a  structure,  for  instance,  as  St.  Peter's  in  Rome,  which  was 
one  hundred  and  ten  years  in  building,  or  the  Cathedral  at  Cologne, 

250  Faith. 

begun  in  1249  and  finished  in  1880.  ISTot  to  mention  the  glorious  struc 
tures  to  be  seen  all  over  the  Continent,  in  Germany,  France,  Spain, 
Italy.  England  is  filled  with  magnificent  buildings  like  Westminster, 
Lincoln,  York,  Durham,  etc.  A  large  proportion  of  the  finest  edifices 
in  the  United  States  are  Catholic  churches. 

It  was  the  Church  which  from  the  earliest  times  gave  the 
greatest  encouragement  to  the  fine  arts. 

We  owe  Plain  Chant  or  Gregorian  to  St.  Ambrose,  Bishop  of 
Milan  (397  A.D.)  and  St.  Gregory  the  Great  (604  A.D.),  and  its  devel 
opments  to  many  other  artists.  It  was  the  Popes  who  encouraged  men 
like  Palestrina  (1594).  Twice  in  its  history  the  Church  resisted  the 
Iconoclast  (or  image-breaking)  movement,  at  Nicsea  in  787,  and  at 
Trent  in  1563.  Artists  of  world-wide  fame,  such  as  Leonardo  da 
Vinci  (1519),  Eaphael  (1520),  Michael  Angelo  (1564),  Correggio 
(1564),  Canova  (1822),  etc.,  owed  much  of  their  success  to  the  sup 
port  of  the  Popes.  It  was  the  cloister  which  produced  some  of  the 
finest  artists  and  their  works. 

It  was  the  Church  which  made  whole  tracts  of  land  fertile 
and  habitable. 

The  work  of  the  Benedictines  and  Cistercians  in  the  way  of 
clearing  and  draining  land  and  developing  agriculture  was  especially 
conspicuous  in  the  German  forests.  The  same  work  is  carried  on  in 
savage  countries  now  by  the  Trappists  and  other  religious  Orders. 

It  is  to  priests  and  monks  that  we  owe  some  of  the  greatest 

The  Deacon  Flavio  Gioja  discovered  the  magnet  and  compass  in 
1300 ;  Veit,  a  monk  of  Arezzo,  discovered  the  scale,  the  rules  of  music 
and  harmony ;  the  Dominican  Spina  the  use  of  spectacles ;  the  Fran 
ciscan  Berthold  Schwarz  gunpowder  (1300) ;  the  Jesuit  Kircher  ex 
hibited  the  first  burning  glass  (1646)  ;  Copernicus,  a  canon  of  Frau- 
enberg  discovered  his  famous  system  (1507)  ;  the  Jesuit  Cavaliere 
the  components  of  white  light  (1647)  ;  the  Spanish  Benedictine  Pon 
tius  invented  a  method  of  teaching  deaf-mutes  (1570)  ;  the  Jesuit 
Lana  a  way  of  teaching  the  blind  to  read  (1687)  ;  and  the  Jesuit 
Secchi  (1878)  made  many  discoveries  with  regard  to-  sun-spots. 
Only  lately  the  Dominican  Calandoni  invented  a  type-setter  to  re 
place  the  compositor.  The  enemies  of  the  Church  are  always  crying 
her  down  as  opposed  to  progress,  enlightenment  and  freedom. 


The  members  of  the  Church  may  be  divided  into  three  classes: 
those  who  are  still  on  the  earth,  "  having  not  here  a  lasting  city,  but 
seeking  the  one  that  is  to  come "  (Heb.  xiii.  14)  ;  those  who  have 
reached  their  goal  in  heaven,  the  saints;  and  those  who  are  expiat 
ing  their  sins  in  purgatory.  All  are  "  fellow  citizens  with  the  saints 
and  domestics  of  God,"  working  together  for  the  same  object  of 
union  with  God.  The  members  of  this  great  community  are  called 
"  saints  "  because  all  are  sanctified  by  Baptism  (1  Cor.  vi.  11),  and 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  251 

are  called  to  a  holy  life  (1  Thess.  iv.  3).  Those  in  heaven  have  al 
ready  attained  to  perfect  holiness.  Yet  St.  Paul  calls  the  Christians 
still  on  earth  "  saints  "  (Eph.  i.  1). 

1.  The  communion  of  saints  is  the  union  and  intercourse  of 
Catholics  on  earth,  of  the  souls  in  purgatory,  and  of  the  saints  in 

The  Church  on  earth  is  called  the  Church  Militant,  because  of  its 
ceaseless  struggle  with  its  three  enemies,  the  world,  the  flesh,  and  the 
devil.  The  souls  in  purgatory  form  the  Church  Suffering,  because 
they  are  still  expiating  their  sins  in  the  cleansing  fire.  The  blessed 
in  heaven  are  called  the  Church  Triumphant,  because  they  have  al 
ready  secured  their  victory.  These  three  divisions  are  one  Church 
by  the  common  bond  of  Baptism. 

2.  Catholics  on  earth,  the  souls  in  purgatory,  and  the  blessed 
in  heaven  are  united  with  Christ,  just  as  are  the  members  of  a 
body  with  the  head  (Rom.  xii.  4). 

The  Holy  Spirit  works  in  all  the  members  (1  Cor.  xii.  13). 
"  The  soul,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  animates  all  the  organs  of  the  body, 
and  causes  the  eye  to  see,  the  ear  to  hear,  etc;"  just  so  does  the 
Holy  Spirit  work  in  the  members  of  Christ's  body;  and  as  the  Holy 
Spirit  proceeds  from  Christ,  Christ  is  the  head  of  the  Christian 
body  (Col.  i.  18).  He  is  the  vine  carrying  strength  and  nourish 
ment  to  the  branches  (John  xv.  5).  Each  member  of  the  body  has 
its  own  special  functions,  so  each  member  of  the  Church  has  his  own 
gifts  (1  Cor.  xii.  6-10,  28).  Each  member  of  the  body  works  for 
the  whole  body;  so  every  member  of  the  Church  works  for  the 
common  good.  All  the  members  of  the  body  share  the  pain  or 
pleasure  felt  by  one,  and  the  same  is  true  of  the  mutual  sympathy 
of  the  communion  of  saints :  "  If  one  member  suffer  anything,  all 
the  members  suffer  with  it ;  or,  if  one  member  glory,  all  the  members 
rejoice  with  it"  (1  Cor.  xii.  26).  Thus  the  saints  in  heaven  are  not 
indifferent  to  our  condition.  Catholics  who  have  fallen  into  mortal 
sin  are  still  members  of  this  great  body,  though  dead  members; 
but  they  cease  to  be  members  if  they  are  excommunicated. 

3.  All  the  members  of  the  communion  of  saints  have  a  share 
in  the  spiritual  goods  of  the  Catholic  Church,  and  can  help  one  an 
other  by  their  prayers  and  other  good  works.    The  saints  alone 
in  heaven  have  no  need  of  help. 

In  a  similar  manner  all  the  people  of  a  country  have  a  share  in 
the  institutions  supported  by  the  country,  such  as  hospitals,  asylums, 
law  courts,  etc.  So  also,  in  the  family  circle,  all  the  members  have  a 
claim  to  share  in  the  common  goods,  such  as  riches  or  honors.  Thus 
all  the  Masses,  the  means  of  grace,  the  prayers  of  the  Church,  and 
all  the  good  works  done  by  individuals,  are  for  the  benefit  of  all  its 
members.  In  the  Our  Father  we  pray  for  others  as  well  as  for 
ourselves;  holy  Mass  is  offered  for  the  dead  as  well  as  the  living, 
and  the  same  is  true  of  the  Office  recited  by  the  priest.  Hence 
it  is  that  one  may  have  more  hope  of  converting  the  greatest  sinner 
who  still  belongs  to  the  Church  than  a  Freemason  who  outwardly 


leads  a  good  life,  yet  who  is  cut  off  from  it;  and  a  Catholic  may  look 
forward  to  a  quicker  release  from  purgatory  than  others.  St.  Francis 
Xavier  constantly  cheered  himself  with  the  thought  that  the  Church 
was  praying  for  him,  and  supporting  him  with  her  good  works.  More 
over,  all  the  members  of  the  Church  can  give  mutual  help.  There  is 
the  same  sympathy  as  in  the  human  body,  where  a  sound  member 
comes  to  the  help  of  one  that  is  weaker,  and  the  possession  of  good 
lungs,  a  sound  heart,  or  healthy  stomach,  may  help  the  body  to  re 
cover  from  what  might  otherwise  have  been  a  fatal  illness.  The 
eye  does  not  act  for  itself  alone;  it  guides  the  hands  and  feet. 
Sodom  would  have  been  saved  had  ten  just  men  been  found  within 
its  walls. 

1.  All  Catholics  can  help  each  other  by  prayer  and  good 

St.  Peter  was  freed  from  prison  by  the  prayers  of  the  Christians. 
"  The  prayer  of  St.  Stephen,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  procured  the 
conversion  of  St.  Paul."  The  tears  and  prayers  of  St.  Monica  con 
verted  her  son.  Even  in  the  Old  Testament  God  promised  that  He 
would  be  merciful  to  the  prayers  of  the  priest  (Lev.  iv.  20).  St. 
James  bids  us :  "  Pray  one  for  another,  that  you  may  be  saved  "  ( Jas. 
v.  16),  and  St.  Paul:  "  I  beseech  you  .  .  .  help  me  in  your  prayers  for 
me  to  God"  (Rom.  xv.  30).  Christ  revealed  to  Marie  Lataste  that 
as  Esther  saved  her  people  by  her  intercession  with  Assuerus,  so  the 
prayers  of  a  single  soul  may  save  a  whole  nation  from  the  avenging 
hand  of  God.  Prayer  is  a  work  of  mercy,  and  brings  down  a  blessing 
on  the  one  who  prays  and  the  one  who  is  prayed  for.  Fasting  and 
almsgiving  are  also  means  of  help.  As  a  man's  debts  may  be  paid 
off  by  his  neighbor,  so  the  debt  of  sin  may  in  some  measure  be  paid 
off  by  the  good  works  of  others ;  and  thus  it  was  in  the  early  Church 
that  penances  were  often  remitted  or  shortened  at  the  intercession 
of  the  martyrs. 

2.  We  can  also  help  the  holy  souls  in  purgatory  by  prayers 
and  other  good  works ;  they  in  turn  can  help  us  by  their  prayers, 
especially  when  they  reach  heaven. 

The  Jews  even  believed  that  help  could  be  given  to  the  souls 
of  the  departed;  for  we  read  (2  Mach.  xii.)  how  Judas  Machabeus 
caused  sacrifices  to  be  offered  for  those  who  had  fallen  in  battle,  and 
sent  money  to  the  Temple  for  that  purpose.  The  passing-bell  and 
the  knell  are  signals  to  pray  for  the  dying  and  the  dead.  In  the 
Memento  after  the  Consecration  at  Mass  a  special  petition  is  made  for 
the  departed.  "  Prayer,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  is  the  key  by  which 
we  open  the  gates  of  heaven  to  the  suffering  souls."  The  prayers  of 
the  living,  especially  holy  Mass,  almsdeeds,  and  other  works  of 
piety  are  of  great  efficacy  in  lessening  the  sufferings  of  the  holy 
souls  (Council  of  Lyons,  1274).  The  souls  in  pnrcratory  can  also  help 
us.  Many  saints  held  that  we  can  call  the  holy  ?ouls  to  our  help 
(Bellarmine;  St.  Alphonsus).  St.  Catherine  of  Bologna  (1463),  used 
often  to  call  upon  the  holy  souls  when  the  saints  seemed  to  f°il  in 
helping  her,  and  she  never  asked  them  in  vain. 

3.  The  saints  in  heaven  can  help  us  by  their  prayers  before 

Tlie  Apostles'  Creed.  253 

the  tlirone  of  God  (Apoc.  viii.  4),  especially  if  we  call  upon  them 
for  help. 

The  saints  must  know  much  of  what  happens  on  earth,  for  their 
happiness  consists  in  the  complete  satisfaction  of  all  their  desires. 
The  devil  knows  all  our  weaknesses,  as  we  know  from  the  way  in 
which  he  tempts  us.  The  prophets  of  the  Old  Testament  sometimes 
foretold  future  events,  and  knew  the  most  hidden  things;  is  it  likely 
that  the  saints  are  less  favored  than  they?  They  rejoice  when  a 
sinner  is  converted  (Luke  xv.  7).  "What  can  escape  those,"  says 
St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  "  who  see  Him  Who  sees  all  things  ?  "  And 
the  Church  teaches  us  that  when  we  call  upon  the  saints  for  their 
prayers,  they  join  their  prayers  to  ours.  Their  intercession  has 
great  efficacy,  for  the  "  continual  prayer  of  a  just  man  even  on  the 
earth  availeth  much"  (Jas.  v.  16).  What  power  Abraham  had  when 
pleading  for  Sodom  !  (Gen.  xviii.)  "  If,"  says  St.  Jerome,  "  the 
saints  had  such  power  when  in  the  flesh,  what  can  they  not  obtain 
for  us  now  that  they  have  secured  their  victory  ? "  St.  John  Chrys- 
ostom  compares  their  intercession  to  the  pleading  of  old  soldiers 
who  display  their  wounds.  This  power  has  often  been  demonstrated 
by  miracles. 

Our  dead  relatives  and  friends,  who  are  in  heaven,  are  always 
pleading  for  us  at  the  throne  of  God,  and  often  save  us  from 

"Charity  never  dies"  (1  Cor.  xiii.  8),  and  the  ties  which  bind 
us  to  those  we  love  remain  unbroken  by  death.  Even  in  hell  the 
wretched  Dives  showed  he  had  some  affection  still  for  his  relatives  on 
earth  (Luke  xvi.  27).  The  prophet  Jeremias,  and  the  holy  high 
priest  Onias,  prayed  in  limbo  for  the  Jewish  nation  (2  Mach.  xv. 
14)  ;  and  Christ  promised  His  apostles  that  He  would  pray  for  them 
(John  xiv.  16;  1  John  ii.  1).  St.  Augustine,  after  the  death  of  his 
mother  St.  Monica,  and  St.  Wenceslaus  after  the  death  of  his  grand 
mother  St.  Ludmilla  rapidly  advanced  to  greater  heights  of  sanc 
tity.  So  too  the  saints  help  the  souls  in  purgatory.  "  Our  Lady 
alone  rescues  daily  some  souls  from  purgatory  by  her  prayers." 
On  the  anniversary  of  the  Assumption  of  Our  Lady  thousands  of 
souls  are  delivered  from  their  prison  (St.  Peter  Damian;  St.  Alphon- 
sus).  On  Saturdays,  the  day  specially  dedicated  to  Our  Lady,  she 
rescues  many  poor  souls  from  purgatory  (John  XXII.,  Sabbatine 
Bull).  Nor  are  the  holy  angels  indifferent  to  their  future  companions; 
one  of  the  Church's  prayers  speaks  of  St.  Michael  leading  souls  into 
heaven.  Our  angel  guardian,  and  the  angels  whom  we  have  specially 
honored  on  earth,  will  take  up  our  cause  in  purgatory. 



(See  the  chapter  on  Sin,  page  449.) 

254  Faith. 


1.    DEATH. 

Every  day  some  eighty-eight  thousand  men  die ;  that  is,  one  death 
per  second. 

1.  At  death  the  soul  is  separated  from  the  body,  and  enters  the 
world  of  spirits;   the  body  decays,  and  falls  into  dust. 

St.  Paul  speaks  of  death  as  a  dissolution  (2  Tim.  iv.  6),  and  St. 
Peter  calls  the  body  a  tabernacle  of  the  soul  (2  Pet.  i.  14).  The 
body  is,  as  it  were,  a  shell  through  which  the  soul  breaks  to  enter  in 
its  new  life.  "  The  soul  is  freed  from  its  prison  at  death,"  is  the  ex 
pression  of  St.  Augustine.  The  body,  deprived  of  the  soul,  is  no 
longer  alive,  because  it  has  no  longer  the  principle  of  life.  At  death 
the  spirit  returns  to  the  God  Who  gave  it  (Eccles.  xii.  7).  "Death," 
says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  "  is  a  journey  into  eternity."  Hrnee  it  is 
wrong  to  believe  with  the  ancient  Egyptians  that  the  soul  is  joined 
to  other  forms,  whether  human  or  animal ;  and  those  too  are  mistaken 
who  think  that  the  soul  enters  into  a  sort  of  sleep  till  the  day  of 
judgment.  After  death  the  body  returns  to  the  dust  from  which  it 
came  (Gen.  iii.  19)  ;  exception  was  made,  however,  in  the  case  of  the 
bodies  of  Christ  and  of  His  blessed  Mother;  and  the  bodies  of  some  of 
the  saints  have  been  preserved  free  from  corruption  to  the  present  day. 
At  the  last  day  our  bodies  will  all  rise  again.  Death  is  represented 
symbolically  as  a  skeleton  carrying  a  scythe,  with  which  he  cuts 
short  our  lives  as  the  reaper  mows  the  grass  of  the  field  (Ps.  cii.  15)  ; 
he  is  also  represented  carrying  a  key  to  open  to  us  the  gates  of  ever 
lasting  life. 

2.  All  men  must  die,  because  death  is  the  consequence  of 
original  sin, 

Our  first  parents  lost  by  their  sin  the  gift  of  immortality,  and  as 
a  consequence  we  all  have  to  die.  "  By  one  man  sin  entered  into  the 
world  and  by  sin  death ;  and  so  death  passed  upon  all  men,  in  whom 
all  have  sinned"  (Rom.  v.  12).  Death  is  the  punishment  of  man's 
ambition  to  be  as  God.  Henoch  (Gen.  v.  24)  and  Elias  (4  Kings  ii. 
11)  alone  were  removed  from  earth  without  dying,  and  they  are  to 
return  before  the  Last  Day,  and  then  die;  St.  Thomas  teaches  that 
even  those  who  survive  till  the  Day  of  Judgment  shall  die.  Christ 
alone  was  not  under  the  law  of  death  because  He  was  free  from  all 
sin ;  His  death  for  us  was  a  purely  voluntary  act.  "  Life,"  says  St. 
John  Chrysostom,  "  is  a  play  in  which  for  a  short  time  one  man 
represents  a  judge,  another  a  general,  and  so  on;  after  the  play  no 
further  account  is  made  of  the  dignity  which  each  one  had."  We 
are  all  like  so  many  chess-men,  who  at  the  beginning  of  the  game 
have  our  fixed  places  on  the  board,  but  at  the  end  are  all  tumbled 
into  a  box.  The  rich  man  cannot  take  his  riches  along  with  him 
(Job  xxvii.  15).  After  death  many  who  have  been  the  first  on  earth 
shall  be  last,  and  the  last  first  (Matt.  xix.  30).  Our  days  upon  earth 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  255 

are  but  a  shadow  (Job  viii.  9)  ;  our  years  shall  be  considered  as  a 
spider's  web  (Ps.  Ixxxix.  9)  ;  life  is  a  vapor  which  appeareth  for  a  little 
while,  and  afterwards  shall  vanish  away  (Jas.  iv.  15).  The  hour  of 
our  death  is  unknown  to  us.  We  shall  die  when  we  expect  it  not 
(Matt.  xxiv.  44);  death  will  come  like  a  thief  (Matt.  xxiv.  43).  To 
use  the  expression  of  St.  Ephrem,  death  is  like  the  pounce  of  the 
hawk,  or  the  spring  of  the  wolf.  St.  Gregory  of  Nyssa  compares  life 
to  a  torch,  which  a  slight  puff  of  wind  may  put  out.  To  some  of  the 
saints  the  hour  of  their  death  has  been  revealed,  but  from  most  men 
it  is  hidden.  We  see  in  this  arrangement  the  action  of  God's  wisdom 
and  goodness.  Since  we  do  not  know  the  hour  of  our  death,  we 
should  always  be  ready  to  die :  "  Wherefore  be  you  also  ready,  because 
at  what  hour  you  know  not  the  Son  of  man  will  come  "  (Matt.  xxiv. 
44).  The  parable  of  the  ten  virgins  (Matt,  xxv.)  is  another  warning 
on  this  subject.  "  Death  is  a  great  lord,"  says  St.  Ephrem,  "  waiting 
on  no  one  and  demanding  that  all  wait  upon  him."  As  a  man  lives, 
so  he  dies.  Those  who  put  off  reforming  their  lives  are  like  those 
students  who  begin  to  study  when  the  examination  is  already  upon 

3.  Death  is  terrible  only  to  the  sinner,  in  no  wise  to  the  just. 

To  the  sensual  and  self-seeking  only  is  death  fearful,  for  it  means 
the  end  of  their  enjoyment  and  the  beginning  of  woe.  "  The  death 
of  the  just  man,"  says  St.  Vincent  Ferrer,  "  is  like  the  pruning  of  a 
tree  preparing  it  to  bear  nobler  fruit  in  the  future;  while  the  death 
of  the  sinner  is  the  uprooting  of  the  tree  before  it  is  cast  into  the 
fire."  "  For  the  just  man  there  is  no  death  but  a  passing  into  ever 
lasting  life."  The  saints  rejoiced  in  death,  desiring  like  St.  Paul 
to  be  dissolved  and  to  be  with  Christ  (Phil.  i.  23).  St.  John  Chrysos- 
tom  compares  the  desire  of  the  saints  for  death  with  that  of  a  traveller 
for  the  end  of  his  journey,  or  a  farmer  for  his  harvest;  in  another 
place  he  speaks  of  death  as  of  a  change  from  a  tumbledown  cottage 
to  a  beautiful  mansion.  "  O  how  sweet  it  is  to  die,  if  one's  life  has 
been  a  good  one  !  "  exclaims  St.  Augustine.  It  is  not  the  kind  of 
death,  but  the  state  of  the  soul  that  is  important :  "  As  the  tree  falls 
so  shall  it  lie,"  says  Holy  Writ  (Eccles.  xi.  3);  so  it  is  with  man: 
as  his  will  was  directed  on  earth,  so  shall  it  be  directed  after  death. 
Happy  the  man  whose  will  has  been  always  fixed  on  God;  in  other 
words  who  has  in  his  heart  the  love  of  God  and  sanctifying  grace; 
he  will  see  God.  Unhappily,  many  are  bent  solely  on  things  of  the 
earth,  those,  for  instance,  who  love  the  world  and  are  not  in  the  state 
of  grace ;  they  remain  separated  from  God  forever. 

4.  In  order  to  secure  a  happy  death,  we  should  in  our  daily- 
prayer  ask  God  to  grant  us  a  happy  death,  and  of  our  own  accord 
detach  ourselves  now  from  earthly  goods  and  pleasures. 

He  dies  a  happy  death  who  is  reconciled  with  God,  and  has  put 
his  worldly  affairs  in  order.  We  ought  often  to  pray  that  God  may 
give  us  the  grace  to  receive  the  last  sacraments  before  dying.  It  is 
also  a  duty  to  make  a  will  in  good  time;  to  do  this  is  to  behave  like 
a  prudent  captain  who  heaves  his  cargo  overboard  to  avoid  ship 
wreck.  A  sudden  death  is  not  a  thing  to  be  desired,  for  we  cannot 

256  Faith. 

then,  put  into  order  our  spiritual  or  temporal  affairs ;  hence  we  pray  in 
the  Litanies :  "  From  a  sudden  and  unprovided  death  deliver  us,  O 
Lord."  The  Church  often  recalls  the  thought  of  death,  on  All  Souls, 
Ash  Wednesday,  by  the  passing-bell,  etc.  The  thought  of  death  is 
useful  for  keeping  us  out  of  sin :  "  In  all  thy  works  remember  thy 
last  end,  and  thou  shalt  never  sin  "  (Ecclus.  vii.  40).  Whoever  thinks 
seriously  of  death  will  take  as  little  pleasure  in  the  things  of  the 
world  as  the  condemned  criminal  in  a  good  meal;  he  is  another 
Damocles,  with  the  sword  hanging  over  him  by  a  hair.  Every  day's 
sunset  is  a  reminder  from  God  of  death,  and  sleep  is  an  image  of  it. 
We  ought  to  detach  ourselves  even  now  from  earthly  goods  and 
pleasures.  After  death  our  eyes  will  no  longer  see,  nor  our  ears 
hear,  nor  our  tongues  speak;  and  we  should  prepare  for  that  state 
by  our  voluntary  restraint  now.  We  should  crush  the  curiosity  of 
the  eyes  and  the  ears,  our  unruly  speech  and  inordinate  enjoyment 
of  good,  following  the  counsel  of  St.  Basil :  "  Let  us  die  that  we  may 
live."  The  good  works  which  the  Church  imposes  on  us,  such  as 
prayer,  fasting,  and  almsdeeds,  are  nothing  but  a  loosening  of  the 
heart  from  earthly  ties.  Only  those  who  have  this  detachment  shall 
see  God  after  death :  "  Blessed  are  the  clean  of  heart  for  they  shall 
see  God"  (Matt.  v.  8). 


1.  Immediately  after  death  follows  the  particular  judgment. 

"  As  soon  as  the  soul  leaves  the  body,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  it  is 
judged."  We  learn  from  the  parable  of  Dives  and  Lazarus  that  both 
were  judged  immediately  after  death.  St.  Paul  tells  us :  "  It  is  ap 
pointed  unto  man  once  to  die,  and  after  this  the  judgment"  (Heb. 
ix.  27) .  In  the  hour  of  death  God  will  say  to  us :  "  Give  an  account 
of  thy  stewardship"  (Luke  xvi.  2).  After  judgment  comes  the 
sentence.  If  God  has  ordained  that  the  workman  should  not  be 
kept  waiting  for  his  wage,  it  is  not  likely  that  He  will  delay  to  reward 
him  who  has  labored  faithfully.  "  Death  is  the  reward  of  merit,  the 
crown  of  the  harvest"  (St.  Ambrose). 

Christ  will  sit  as  Judge  in  the  particular  judgment.  He  will 
examine  our  whole  lives,  and  will  deal  with  us  as  we  have  dealt 
with  our  fellow-men. 

Christ  will  be  our  Judge:  "For  neither  doth  the  Father  judge 
any  man,  but  hath  given  all  judgment  to  the  Son  "  (John  v.  22).  He 
promised  His  apostles  at  the  Last  Supper  to  return  after  His  ascen 
sion  and  take  them  to  Himself  (John  xiv.  3).  Evidently  this  meant 
at  their  death ;  of  St.  John  too  He  said :  "  So  I  will  have  him  remain 
till  I  come"  (John  xxi.  22).  The  apostles  rejoiced  at  the  thought  of 
seeing  Christ  again  (1  John  iii.  2)  ;  so  long  as  they  were  in  the  flesh 
they  were  in  some  sense  far  from  Christ  (2  Cor.  v.  6).  We  are  not 
to  imagine  that  the  soul  is  led  before  Christ  in  heaven.  He  en 
lightens  the  departed  soul  in  such  a  manner  that  it  is  quite  convinced 
that  its  Saviour  has  passed  a  true  judgment  upon  it.  "  As  lightning 
cometh  out  of  the  east  and  appeareth  even  into  the  west,  so  shall 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  257 

also  the  coming  of  the  Son  of  man  be  "  (Matt.  xxiv.  27)  ;  that  is,  as 
Blessed  Clement  Hofbauer  puts  it,  at  our  death,  when  Christ  comes 
to  us,  our  whole  life  will  be  revealed  to  us  with  the  rapidity  and 
clearness  of  lightning.  A  man's  works  shall  be  revealed  at  his 
death  (Ecclus.  xi.  29).  All  those  who  have  been  near  to  death  say 
that  in  that  moment  all  sorts  of  things  long  forgotten  and  occurring 
in  childhood  are  presented  to  the  mind.  At  death,  too,  our  most 
secret  deeds  are  brought  to  light:  "For  there  is  not  anything  secret 
that  shall  not  be  made  manifest,  nor  hidden  that  shall  not  be 
known  and  come  abroad"  (Luke  viii.  17).  We  must  give  an  account 
even  of  every  idle  word  that  we  have  spoken  (Matt.  xii.  36).  St. 
Basil  compares  the  soul  to  an  artist  who  has  produced  a  number  of 
pictures;  at  the  hour  of  death  the  veil  is  removed  from  these,  and 
they  cover  him  with  glory,  or  if  they  prove  to  be  wretched  work,  con 
demn  him  to  disgrace.  As  the  sun  reveals  to  us  the  floating  particles 
in  the  air,  so  when  the  Sun  of  justice  shines  into  our  souls  we  shall  see 
there  even  our  slightest  faults.  "  On  the  Day  of  Judgment,"  says 
Louis  of  Granada,  "  God  will  wear  the  same  aspect  to  us  as  we  have 
shown  in  our  lifetime  to  our  neighbor."  God  is,  as  it  were,  a  mirror, 
reflecting  most  perfectly  the  image  of  him  who  looks  into  it.  "  With 
what  measure  you  mete,  it  shall  be  measured  to  you  again"  (Matt, 
vii.  2). 

2.  After  the  particular  judgment  the  souls  of  men  go  into  hell, 
or  heaven,  or  purgatory. 

W©  see  from  the  parable  of  Dives  and  Lazarus  that  the  sentence 
of  the  judge  is  carried  out  at  once  (Luke  xvi.).  The  Church  has  de 
fined  that  those  who  have  not  sinned  after  Baptism,  and  those 
who  having  sinned  after  Baptism,  have  expiated  those  sins  on 
earth  or  in  purgatory,  are  received  at  once  into  heaven;  while 
those  who  die  in  mortal  sin  descend  at  once  to  hell  (Council 
of  Lyons,  ii.,  1274).  St.  Gregory  the  Great  and  St.  Justin  taught 
the  same  in  their  time.  Those  are  in  error  who  believe,  as  in  the 
Greek  schismatic  Church,  that  the  souls  of  the  just  have  merely 
a  foretaste  of  their  blessedness  after  death,  and  have  complete  hap 
piness  only  when  they  are  joined  to  their  bodies,  and  that  the  wicked 
experience  full  damnation  only  after  the  resurrection.  They  are 
very  few  who  enter  heaven  at  once,  for :  "  Nothing  defiled  can  enter 
heaven"  (Apoc.  xxi.  27).  According  to  Bellarmine  it  is  seldom  even 
that  a  just  man  escapes  purgatory.  All  have  it  in  their  power  to  be 
saved,  but  not  all  use  their  graces.  After  the  particular  judgment 
there  is  to  be  a  general  judgment;  in  the  former  the  soul  receives  its 
punishment  or  reward  for  the  evil  or  good  it  has  done;  in  the  latter 
the  body  shares  in  the  dispensation  as  the  instrument  of  the  soul. 

3.   HEAVEN. 
Heaven  is  an  abode  of  everlasting  joy. 

Christ  gave  His  apostles  on  Mount  Thabor  some  foretaste  of  the 
joys  of  heaven  (Matt.  xvii.).  The  heavens  opened  at  the  baptism 
of ^  Christ  (Matt.  iii.  16).  St.  Stephen  saw  the  heavens  open  (Acts 
vii.  55).  St.  Paul  was  rapt  into  the  third  heaven  (2  Cor.  xii.  2). 

258  Faith. 

Heaven  is  both  a  place  and  a  state.  Many  divines  teach  that  it  is 
somewhere  beyond  the  stars;  though  this  view  is  not  of  faith,  yet 
it  has  some  foundation,  for  Christ  came  down  from  heaven,  and 
ascended  again  to  heaven.  Heaven  is  also  a  state  of  the  soul;  it 
consists  in  the  vision  of  the  Godhead  (Matt,  xviii.  10),  and  in  the 
peace  and  joy  of  the  Holy  Spirit  (Rom.  xiv.  17) ;  so  the  angels  and 
saints  do  not  leave  heaven  when  they  come  to  our  assistance.  Christ 
is  the  King  of  heaven.  He  called  Himself  King  before  Pilate, 
though  He  maintained  that  His  kingdom  was  not  of  this  world  (John 
xviii.  36);  He  was  acknowledged  as  King  by  the  penitent  thief: 
"  Lord,  remember  me  when  Thou  comest  into  Thy  kingdom  "  (Luke 
xxiii.  42) ;  in  heaven  the  angels  worship  Christ  (Heb.  i.  6).  Heaven 
is  our  true  home;  on  this  earth  we  are  but  strangers  (2  Cor.  v.  6). 

The  joys  of  heaven  are  unspeakably  great:  the  blessed  are 
free  from  even  the  slightest  pain;  they  enjoy  the  vision  of  God 
and  the  friendship  of  all  the  inhabitants  of  heaven. 

Of  the  joys  of  heaven  St.  Paul  writes :  "  Eye  hath  not  seen,  nor 
ear  heard,  neither  hath  it  entered  into  the  heart  of  man,  what  things 
God  hath  prepared  for  them  that  love  Him"  (1  Cor.  ii.  9).  "  This 
happiness  may  be  felt,  but  not  described,"  says  St.  Augustine.  And 
David  addresses  God :  "  They  shall  be  inebriated  with  the  plenty  of 
Thy  house,  and  Thou  shalt  make  them  drink  of  the  torrent  of  Thy 
pleasure"  (Ps.  xxxv.  9).  "The  present  life,"  says  St.  Gregory  the 
Great,  "  in  comparison  of  everlasting  bliss,  is  more  like  death  than 
life."  We  shall  enjoy  there  the  same  delights  as  God  Himself  (Matt. 
xxv.  21),  for  we  shall  be  made  partakers  of  the  divine  nature  (2  Pet. 
i.  4)  and  like  to  God  (1  John  iii.  2).  We  shall  be  transformed  in 
heaven  like  the  iron  in  the  fire.  In  heaven  there  are  many  mansions 
(John  xiv.  2) ;  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  like  to  a  banquet  (Matt, 
viii.  11;  Luke  xiv.  16),  in  which  Our  Lord  Himself  waits  upon  the 
guests  (Luke  xii.  37).  In  heaven  there  is  no  bodily,  only  a  spiritual 
food  (Tob.  xii.  19) ;  there  is  a  great  light  (1  Tim.  vi.  16)  ;  there  are 
heard  the  songs  of  the  angels  (Ps.  Ixxxiii.  5).  The  saints  are  robed 
in  white  (Apoc.  vii.  14) ;  they  are  crowned  by  their  Lord  (Wisd.  v. 
17)  ;  they  have  perfect  freedom,  and  are  set  over  all  God's  works 
(Matt.  xxiv.  47).  "If,  O  my  God,  Thou  dost  give  us  such  beau 
tiful  things  here  in  our  prison,  what  wilt  Thou  do  in  Thy  palace  !  " 
exclaims  St.  Augustine.  Lastly  the  joys  of  heaven  are  not  sensual 
(Matt.  xxii.  30).  The  blessed  are  free  from  all  suffering.  "It  is 
easier,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  to  name  the  evils  from  which  the 
blessed  are  free  than  to  count  up  their  joys."  They  shall  neither 
hunger  nor  thirst  (Apoc.  vii.  16)  ;  death  shall  be  no  more,  nor  mourn 
ing,  nor  sorrow  (Apoc.  xxi.  4)  ;  and  night  will  no  more  be  (Apoc. 
xxii.  5).  The  blessed  see  always  the  face  of  God  (Matt,  xviii.  10); 
they  see  God  as  He  is  (1  John  iii.  2),  and  face  to  face  (1  Cor.  xiii. 
12) ;  nor  do  they  see  God  as  it  were  in  an  image,  but  He  is  as  present 
to  the  understanding  as  a  visible  object  to  the  eye  which  sees  it. 
The  blessed  enjoy  this  vision  not  by  any  power  of  their  own,  but  by 
a  special  divine  operation,  called  the  light  of  glory,  and  in  conse 
quence  of  this  they  become  like  to  God  (1  John  iii.  2).  This  vision 
of  God  is  the  source  of  untold  happiness.  "  The  blessed,"  says  St. 
Bonaventure,  "  rejoice  more  over  (rod's  blessedness  than  over  their 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  259 

own."  "  If  the  contemplation  of  creation  is  so  sweet,"  says  St.  Charles 
Borromeo,  "how  much  more  so  must  be  the  contemplation  of  the 
Creator  !  "  With  the  knowledge  of  God  is  necessarily  linked  the  love 
of  God,  and  increase  of  one  means  increase  of  the  other.  Hence 
this  great  joy  banishes  all  sadness.  The  blessed  in  heaven  also  love  one 
another;  they  are  as  one  (John  xvii.  21).  "  The  love  of  the  elect  in 
paradise,"  says  Blessed  Suso,  "  is  so  great  that  souls  removed  at  an 
infinite  distance  from  one  another  love  with  a  greater  affection  than 
that  which  exists  between  parent  and  child."  "  It  is  love  alone,"  says 
St.  Augustine,  "  which  separates  the  children  of  the  eternal  kingdom 
from  the  children  of  perdition.  What  happiness  to  meet  again  our 
relations  and  friends  after  so  long  and  painful  a  separation  !  " 

The  joys  of  heaven  last  forever. 

Christ  says :  "  The  just  will  enter  into  everlasting  life."  The  Holy 
Spirit  will  be  united  with  them  forever  (John  xiv.  16).  This  joy  no 
man  can  take  from  them  (John  xvi.  22).  No  one  can  snatch  them 
from  the  hand  of  the  Father  (John  x.  29).  Great  kings  and  princes 
support  their  dependents  even  when  these  are  no  longer  capable  of 
rendering  service;  surely  God,  Who  is  the  King  of  kings,  will  not 
be  less  generous.  His  reward  is  eternal,  the  only  one  worthy  of  Him. 
Were  it  not  so,  the  joy  of  heaven  would  be  incomplete  from  the  fear 
of  its  coming  to  an  end. 

1.   The  happiness  of  the  blessed  varies  according  to  their 

The  master  in  the  gospel  of  St.  Luke  (xix.  16,  etc.),  gave  to  the 
servant  who  had  used  his  ten  talents  to  gain  other  ten  talents  the  com 
mand  of  ten  cities,  and  to  the  one  who  had  successfully  used  his  five 
talents  the  command  of  five  cities.  Thus  God  acts,  and  in  so  doing 
acts  with  the  greatest  justice.  St.  Paul  says :  "  He  who  soweth  spar 
ingly  shall  also  reap  sparingly,  and  he  who  soweth  in  blessings  shall 
also  reap  of  blessings"  (2  Cor.  ix.  6).  The  just  see  in  heaven  the 
triune  God,  yet  some  see  Him  more  perfectly  than  others  according  to 
their  merits  (Council  of  Florence).  "One  is  the  glory  of  the  sun 
[Christ],  another  the  glory  of  the  moon  [Mary],  and  another  the 
glory  of  the  stars  [the  saints]  "  (1  Cor.  xv.  41).  The  knowledge  and 
love  of  God  are  greater  in  one  saint  and  less  in  another;  and  the 
same  is  true  of  the  joy  of  heaven.  Men  are  intended  to  take  the 
place  of  the  fallen  angels,  and  of  these  there  are  some  from  all 
the  nine  choirs  of  angels.  The  degree  of  glory  in  heaven  depends  on 
the  amount  of  sanctifying  grace  which  a  man  has  at  his  death 
(Eccles.  xi.  3)  ;  in  other  words  the  degree  of  glory  is  greater  in  pro 
portion  as  a  man  has  at  his  death  more  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  or  more 
of  the  love  of  God  in  his  heart.  The  degree  of  glory  in  the  blessed 
cannot  be  increased  nor  diminished  throughout  eternity;  yet  there 
are  accidental  delights,  as  for  instance  when  special  honor  is  paid  to 
a  saint.  Our  Lord  revealed  that  there  is  a  particular  joy  in  heaven 
when  a  sinner  is  converted  (Luke  xv.  7).  The  canonization,  beati 
fication,  the  feast  day  of  a  saint  on  earth,  the  prayers,  the  holy 
sacrifice,  and  other  good  works  which  the  faithful  perform  on  earth 
in  honor  of  a  saint  are  a  special  source  of  joy  to  that  saint,  St. 
Gertrude  saw  on  such  occasions  the  saints  clothed  in  more  resplen- 

260  Faith. 

dent  raiment,  and  surrounded  by  a  glorious  escort;  they  seemed 
also  to  be  raised  to  a  state  of  greater  bliss.  Yet  among  the  blessed 
there  is  no  envy.  They  are  all  children  of  one  Father  and  have  re 
ceived  their  portion  from  Him  (Matt.  xx).  To  use  the  homely  illus 
tration  of  St.  Francis  de  Sales:  two  children  receive  from  their 
father  a  piece  of  cloth  to  make  a  garment;  the  smaller  child  will  not 
envy  his  brother  the  bigger  garment,  but  will  be  quite  satisfied  with 
the  one  that  fits  him.  So  it  is  in  heaven,  and  more  than  this,  each 
one  rejoices  over  the  happiness  of  the  other  as  though  it  were  in 
some  measure  his  own. 

2.  Only  those  souls  enter  heaven  which  are  free  from  all  sin, 
and  from  the  penalty  due  to  sin. 

According  to  the  Council  of  Florence,  the  souls  only  of  those 
who  after  Baptism  have  not  sinned,  or  who,  if  they  have  sinned,  have 
done  perfect  penance  on  earth  or  in  purgatory,  can  enter  heaven. 
"Nothing  defiled  can  enter  heaven"  (Apoc.  xxi.  27).  Moreover  none 
could  enter  heaven  before  the  death  of  Christ ;  they  had  to  remain  in 

3.  Heaven  is  won  by  suffering  and  self-denial. 

St.  Paul  writes :  "  By  many  tribulations  must  we  enter  the  king 
dom  of  God"  (Acts  xiv.  21),  and  Christ's  words  are:  "  He  that  loveth 
his  life  shall  lose  it,  and  he  that  hateth  his  life  in  this  world  keepeth 
it  unto  life  eternal"  (John  xii.  25).  i.e.,  he  who  goes  after  all  the 
joys  and  pleasures  of  this  world  will  be  damned,  and  he  who  despises 
them  will  be  saved.  There  is  no  blessedness  without  self-denial.  The 
kingdom  of  heaven  is  like  a  treasure  or  a  costly  pearl;  whoever  will 
possess  it  must  give  his  all  for  it  (Matt.  xiii.  44-46),  i.e.,  he  must 
give  up  all  inordinate  attachment  to  the  things  of  this  world.  "  The 
kingdom  of  heaven  suffers  violence  "  (Matt.  xi.  12).  "  Narrow  is  the 
gate  and  straight  is  the  way  that  leadeth  to  life  "  (Matt.  vii.  14).  He 
wins  the  prize  in  the  race  who  runs  swiftly  and  steadily,  and  refrains 
from  all  things  (1  Cor.  ix.  25).  He  who  would  be  among  the  blessed 
must  be  a  martyr  at  least  in  intention.  The  greater  efforts  we  make 
to  secure  salvation,  the  greater  will  be  our  joy. 

4.  For  the  just  heaven  begins  already  on  earth. 

"  While  we  seek  life  eternal  we  already  enjoy  it,"  says-  St.  Augus 
tine.  The  just  have  the  true  peace  (John  xiv.  28)  ;  they  have  the 
peace  of  God  which  surpasses  all  understanding  (Phil.  iv.  7)  ;  hence 
they  are  joyful  even  when  fasting  (Matt.  vi.  17),  and  in  the  midst 
of  sufferings  (Matt.  v.  12).  The  just  possess  the  Holy  Ghost,  hence 
they  are,  even  while  still  on  earth  united  with  God  (1  John  iv.  16). 
Christ  ever  dwells  in  their  hearts  (Eph.  iii.  17)  ;  they  have  within 
them  the  kingdom  of  God  (Luke  xvii.  21).  "Think  of  the  reward 
and  thou  wilt  suffer  with  joy,"  says  St.  Augustine.  The  sufferings 
of  this  world  are  not  to  be  compared  with  the  glory  which  shall  be 
manifested  unto  us  (Rom.  viii.  18).  "If  we  think  of  the  joys  of 
heaven,  the  things  of  this  world  will  appear  worthless"  (St.  Gregory 
the  Great).  "He  who  stands  on  a  hill-top,"  says  St.  John  Chrysos- 
tom,  "  either  does  not  see  objects  in  the  valley,  or  they  appear  to  him 
very  small." 

The  Apostles9  Creed.  261 

4.    HELL. 
1.  Hell  is  the  abode  of  everlasting  torment. 

The  unhappy  rich  man  of  the  Gospel  prayed  Abraham  to  send 
one  from  the  dead  to  his  brothers  "  that  they  might  not  come  to  this 
place  of  torments"  (Luke  xvi.  28).  In  His  discourse  on  the  general 
judgment  Christ  speaks  of  hell  as  "everlasting  punishment"  (Matt, 
xxv.  46).  Hell  is  both  a  place  and  a  state.  As  a  place  it  is  situated 
beneath  the  earth.  Hence  the  expression  in  the  Creed  "  Descended 
into  hell";  and  we  call  hell  an  abyss.  In  the  exorcisms  we  find  the 
expression :  "  God  has  cast  you  from  the  heights  of  heaven  into  the 
bowels  of  the  earth."  Hell  is  sharply  defined  from  heaven;  between 
them  yawns  a  chasm  (Luke  xvi.  26).  The  lost  are  separated  from 
the  saints  (Matt.  xxiv.  51).  With  good  reason  St.  John  Chrysostom 
exhorts  us  not  to  inquire  so  much  where  hell  is  as  how  to  avoid  it. 
Hell  is  a  state,  and  moreover  the  continuation  of  that  same  state 
in  which  the  sinner  is  found  at  death.  "  Thus,"  says  St.  John 
Damascene,  "  the  pains  of  hell  are  due  not  so  much  to  God  as  to  man 
himself."  Since  hell  is  also  a  state,  it  is  quite  clear  that  the  evil 
spirits  may  be  near  to  us  (1  Pet.  v.  8),  and  even  dwell  in  sinners 
(Matt.  xii.  45).  Even  the  pagans  believed  in  a  hell;  hence  the  story  of 
Tantalus,  condemned  to  suffer  perpetual  hunger  and  thirst,  and 
unable  to  satisfy  either,  because  the  water  which  he  tried  to  drink 
or  the  fruit  which  he  attempted  to  eat  withdrew  from  his  lips;  the 
Danaids,  condemned  to  draw  water  in  sieves,  and  Sisyphus,  forced 
ever  to  push  a  great  rock  to  the  top  of  a  hill  only  to  see  it  roll  down 
again,  furnish  other  examples  of  this  belief. 

The  torments  of  hell  are  terrible;  for  the  damned  never  see 
God,  they  are  in  the  company  of  evil  spirits  and  in  fire,  they  en 
dure  great  anguish  of  mind,  and  after  the  resurrection  will  have 
to  suffer  in  their  bodies. 

St.  Paul  says:  "It  is  a  fearful  thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of 
the  living  God  "  (Heb.  x.  31).  St.  John  of  the  Cross  teaches  us  that 
as  a  hundredfold  is  promised  for  every  sacrifice  that  is  made,  so 
for  every  unlawful  pleasure  indulged  in,  a  hundredfold  penalty  must 
be  paid.  St.  John  Chrysostom  applies  the  words  of  St.  Paul  on  heaven 
to  describe  hell :  "  Neither  eye  hath  seen  nor  ear  heard,  nor  hath  it 
entered  the  heart  of  man  to  conceive  what  God  has  prepared  for  them 
that  love  Him  not  "  (1  Cor.  ii.  9).  Christ  calls  hell  an  "  unquenchable 
fire  "  (Mark  ix.  44),  because  the  sensation  of  burning  is  the  greatest 
pain  which  man  can  conceive  on  earth.  In  other  places  He  speaks  of 
the  "  outer  darkness  "  (Matt.  xxii.  13)  because  the  damned  never  see 
God,  the  source  of  eternal  light.  It  is  the  place  where  there  is  "  weep 
ing  and  gnashing  of  teeth"  (Matt.  viii.  12),  where  the^'worm  never 
dies"  (Mark  ix.  43),  and  conscience  never  ceases  to  reproach  the 
damned.  Christ  also  speaks  of  the  lost  as  "bound  hand  and  foot," 
to  show  that  they  have  no  freedom  and  are  in  a  place  of  banishment. 
From  the  words  used  by  Christ  to  the  damned :  "  Depart  from  Me, 
into  everlasting  fire"  (Matt.  xxv.  41),  we  learn  that  they  have  a 
double  pain;  they  are  banished  from  the  vision  of  God  (pain  of  loss), 

262  Faith. 

and  condemned  to  suffer  torment  (pain  of  sense).  The  pain  of  loss 
is  the  greatest  of  the  sufferings  of  hell.  The  greater  the  value  of 
what  is  lost,  the  greater  is  the  pain  of  the  loss.  "  The  damned  have 
lost  what  is  of  infinite  worth,  hence  their  pain  is  infinite,"  says  St. 
Alphonsus.  How  keenly  does  he  suffer  who  is  cut  off  from  the  sight 
of  the  beauty  of  creation  by  blindness;  yet  how  much  greater  is  his 
suffering  who  is  deprived  of  the  sight  of  the  infinite  beauty  of  God 
(St.  John  Damascene).  The  possession  of  God,  the  highest  good, 
is  the  end  of  every  rational  being.  This  is  evident  from  the  way 
in  which  man  in  this  life  strives  after  the  greatest  happiness.  This 
longing  increases  after  death,  for  then  the  things  of  earth  no  longer 
distract  the  mind,  nor  can  they  give  any  more  satisfaction.  What  an 
awful  fate  if  this  longing  can  never  throughout  eternity  be  satisfied ! 
In  the  words  of  St.  Augustine:  "It  is  right  that  he  who  rejects  God 
should  be  rejected  of  God."  The  sorrow  of  Esau  in  the  loss  of  his 
father's  blessing  is  but  a  type  of  the  sorrow  of  the  damned  for  the 
loss  of  the  vision  of  God.  The  saints  have  trembled  at  the  mere 
thought  of  this  loss.  The  damned  have  no  communication  with  the 
blessed.  They  may  see  them  as  the  rich  man  saw  Lazarus :  "  They 
see  them  not  to  their  joy,  but  to  their  sorrow,"  says  St.  Vincent 
Ferrer,  "  they  see  them  as  a  hungry  man  may  look  on  a  plenteous 
table  which  he  may  not  touch."  Besides  this  the  damned  have  much 
to  suffer  from  evil  spirits;  and  it  is  meet  that  those  who  sided  with 
and  subjected  themselves  to  the  evil  spirits  on  earth  should  be  of 
their  company  after  death.  We  are  warned  in  the  book  of  Job  and 
in  the  case  of  the  possessed  persons  in  the  Gospel,  how  cruel  the 
devil  is  when  he  has  a  little  power.  What  an  awful  experience  it 
must  be  for  the  damned  in  hell,  where  the  devil  has  full  power  ! 
The  damned  in  hell  cause  one  another  great  suffering;  for  they  hate 
one  another.  In  that  region  of  hatred  of  God  there  is  no  love  of 
God.  Hence  the  numbers  in  hell  only  increase  its  torments.  More 
over  fire  will  torture  the  lost  souls.  "  They  shall  be  sunk  in  fire  like 
fish  in  the  sea,"  says  St.  Alphonsus.  And  we  learn  from  the  teaching 
of  Christ  (Luke  xvi.  24)  and  the  holy  Fathers  that  this  fire  is  a  real 
fire.  Even  on  earth  God  punished  by  fire  the  sins  of  Sodom  and  Go- 
morrha  (Gen.  xix.  24;  4  Kings  i.  14).  "If,"  says  Bellarmine,  "the 
soul  can  be  united  to  the  body  so  as  to  suffer  in  company  with  it,  so 
can  the  soul  be  reached  by  this  avenging  fire."  Is  it  so  much  beyond 
almighty  power  that  God  could  not  call  into  being  all  those  sensations 
in  the  soul,  which  the  latter  had  while  in  the  body  ?  It  is  probable  also 
that  the  fire  of  hell  is  not  like  fire  as  we  know  it  on  earth.  Our 
fire  destroys;  that  of  hell  does  not  consume  but  rather  preserves,  as 
salt  preserves  meat  (Mark  ix.  48)  ;  our  fire  gives  light,  while  in  hell 
there  is  darkness  (Matt.  xxii.  13).  Our  fire  warms,  while  the  fire  of 
hell  is  accompanied  by  an  insupportable  cold,  and  moreover  it  is 
much  more  painful ;  "  Our  fire,"  says  St.  Vincent  Ferrer,  "  is  cold  in 
comparison  with  that  of  hell."  The  soul  suffers  also  from  continual 
remorse  of  conscience.  The  lost  are  given  up  to  despair;  they  recog 
nize  what  fools  they  were  to  reject  God's  grace  so  often,  and  to  prefer 
a  passing  pleasure  to  eternal  happiness.  How  unhappy  they  are  in 
losing  forever  that  God  Who  loved  them  so  much  !  And  their 
shame  is  ever  present,  for  their  sins  are  revealed  to  all,  and  those 
whom  they  despised  and  laughed  to  scorn  on  earth  are  now  in  honor. 

TJie  Apostles'  Creed.  263 

"  They  will  be  tortured  with  envy,"  says  St.  Anthony,  "  for  they  will 
envy  the  blessed  their  glory."  Our  experience  on  earth  teaches  us 
that  mental  suffering  is  often  greater  than  bodily  pain;  suicides  con 
firm  this.  After  the  resurrection  the  lost  will  have  to  suffer  also  in 
the  body:  "They  shall  come  forth  to  the  resurrection  of  judgment" 
(John  v.  29).  All  their  senses  will  receive  punishment;  the  sight  by 
darkness,  the  hearing  by  the  wailing  and  cursing  of  the  other  lost 
souls  (Matt.  viii.  12),  the  taste  by  hunger  (Luke  vi.  25)  and  thirst 
(Luke  xvi.  24),  the  smell  by  the  unbearable  stench,  and  the  sense 
of  touch  by  the  torture  of  heat  and  cold.  Other  pains  may  be  added ; 
for  instance,  we  read  of  wicked  men  whose  bodies  were  devoured  by 
worms  (Acts  xii.  23). 

The  tortures  of  the  damned  are  eternal. 

Satan  with  his  followers  is  cast  into  a  pool  of  fire  and  brimstone, 
where  he  will  be  tormented  day  and  night  forever  (Apoc.  xx.  10). 
In  hell  there  is  no  redemption,  for  the  day  of  grace  is  gone  (John 
iii.  36).  Life  in  hell  is  the  "everlasting  death"  or  "second  death" 
(Apoc.  xxi.  8),  for  a  life  without  joy  and  full  of  torture  is  rather 
death  than  life.  "  O  Death  ! "  says  Innocent  III.,  "  how  sweet 
wouldst  thou  be  to  those  to  whom  thou  wert  so  bitter  !  "  Christ 
tells  us  that  the  pains  of  hell  are  eternal ;  He  calls  the  fire  of  hell  an 
everlasting  fire  (Matt.  xxv.  4-1),  the  torment  of  hell  eternal  (Matt. 
xxv.  46).  So  too  teaches  the  Church  in  the  Council  of  Trent.  The 
error  attributed  to  Origen  (254  A.D.)  that  the  punishment  of  hell 
came  to  an  end  was  condemned  by  the  Church  (Council  of  Constan 
tinople,  ii.,  553).  "Eternal  woe  is  due  to  him  who  destroys  in  him 
self  eternal  good,"  says  St.  Augustine.  Our  judges  on  earth  inflict 
lifelong  punishment  on  criminals,  and  even  a  sentence  of  death. 

The  torments  of  the  damned  are  not  all  alike,  but  vary  ac 
cording  to  the  sin. 

"The  punishments  in  hell  are  not  all  alike"  (Council  of  Flor 
ence).  According  to  St.  Thomas  they  are  as  various  as  the  sins 
committed  on  earth;  they  depend  on  the  nature,  number,  and 
gravity  of  the  sin.  Those  who  have  lived  in  pleasure  shall  be  pun 
ished  by  a  corresponding  amount  of  suffering  and  torment  (Apoc. 
xviii.  7).  The  inhabitants  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrha  will  have  a 
lighter  judgment  than  that  city  which  rejected  the  apostles  (Matt.  x. 

2.  The  souls  of  those  who  die  in  mortal  sin  go  to  hell. 

By  grave  sin  a  man  cuts  himself  off  from  God ;  and  in  that  state 
is  like  a  branch  broken  off  from  Christ  the  vine,  which  withers  and 
is  cast  into  the  fire  (John  xv.  6).  The  souls  of  those  who  die  in  mor 
tal  sin  go  at  once  into  hell  (Council  of  Lyons,  ii.).  In  particular 
the  following  go  to  hell:  the  enemies  of  Christ  (Ps.  cix.  1),  all  those 
who  refuse  to  believe  in  the  Gospel  (John  iii.  18),  the  impure, 
thieves,  covetous,  railers  (1  Cor.  vi.  10),  all  who  have  neglected  the 
talents  given  to  them  by  God  (Matt.  xxv.  30)  ;  many  who  were  among 
the  first  on  earth  (Matt.  xix.  30).  Those,  too,  who  die  with  only 
original  sin  on  their  souls  (unbaptized  children)  go  to  hell;  (i.e.,  are 
excluded  from  the  vision  of  God),  but  are  not  visited  with  the  suffer- 

264  Faith. 

ings  of  those  who  have  committed  actual  sin  (Council  of  Lyons,  ii.). 
A  single  mortal  sin,  done  however  secretly,  is  enough  to  send  a  man 
to  eternal  perdition. 

Sinners  begin  their  hell  even  on  earth. 

The  wicked  are  like  the  raging  sea  which  can  never  rest  (Is.  Ivii. 
20).  Every  sinner  sits  in  "darkness  and  in  the  shadow  of  death" 
(Luke  i.  79).  To  him  the  lessons  of  religion  are  folly  (1  Cor.  ii.  14). 
It  is  in  the  hour  of  death  that  the  worldling  will  awake  to  his  misery ; 
at  present  he  feels  it  not,  because  he  is  distracted  by  a  thousand 
things.  Think  often  about  hell ;  the  thought  will  keep  us  from  sin. 
"  Often  go  down  to  hell  during  thy  lifetime,  that  thou  mayst  not 
have  to  go  after  death"  (St.  Bernard).  "He  who  despises  hell  or 
forgets  it,"  says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  "  will  not  escape  it." 


1.  Purgatory  is  a  place  where  the  souls  of  those  must  suffer 
for  a  time,  who,  though  dying  without  grave  sin  on  their  souls, 
have  not  done  complete  penance  for  their  offences  against  God. 

Judas  Machabeus  was  convinced  that  the  souls  of  those  who  had 
died  in  battle  with  idols  on  them  had  to  be  punished,  and  for  that 
reason  ordered  sacrifices  to  be  offered  for  them  in  Jerusalem  (2  Mach. 
xii.  43).  "  The  stains  which  the  soul  has  received  during  its  sojourn 
in  the  body  must  be  removed  by  the  purging  fire,"  says  St.  Gregory  of 
I^yssa;  and  St.  Gregory  I^azianzen  tells  us  that  in  the  future  life 
there  is  a  baptism  of  fire,  a  hard  and  weary  baptism,  to  destroy  what  is 
earthly  in  man.  As  to  the  situation  of  purgatory,  most  of  the  saints 
seem  to  think  it  is  beneath  the  earth ;  hence  the  prayer  of  the  Church : 
A  porta  inferi,  etc.  ("  From  the  gates  of  hell  deliver  him,  O  Lord  !  ") 
and  the  De  Profundis  ("  Out  of  the  depths  I  have  cried  to  Thee,  O 
Lord").  Some  also  believe  that  many  souls,  for  a  time  at  least,  suffer 
their  purgatory  in  those  places  on  earth  where  their  sins  were  com 
mitted,  and  that  they  are  often  present  at  the  prayers  which  are 
offered  for  them.  It  is  certain  also  that  the  holy  souls  have  appeared 
to  many  saints,  e.g.,  to  St.  Teresa,  St.  Bridget,  St.  Philip  Neri.  As 
to  the  state  of  the  holy  souls,  the  saints  are  of  opinion  that  they 
suffer  in  all  resignation  to  God's  will.  St.  Catherine  of  Genoa  tells 
us  that  God  fills  them  with  His  love,  so  that  their  greatest  pains  be 
come  tolerable.  Moreover  the  knowledge  that  they  will  finally  attain 
the  vision  of  God  and  that  they  are  secure  of  their  eternal  salvation, 
gives  them  great  consolation.  "  Besides,"  as  St.  Frances  of  Rome 
tells  us,  "  they  are  comforted  by  the  prayers  of  the  faithful  on  earth, 
and  the  blessed  in  heaven,  and  by  the  visits  of  holy  angels."  "  The 
consciousness  that  they  are  making  atonement  to  God  and  suffering 
for  Him  makes  them  courageous  as  martyrs "  (St.  Catherine  of 

The  holy  souls  suffer  in  purgatory  to  expiate  either  their 
venial  sins,  or  those  mortal  sins,  which,  though  absolved,  have 
not  been  completely  atoned  for. 

TJie  Apostles'  Creed.  265 

Venial  sins  are  visited  with  temporal  punishment,  as  in  the  case 
of  Zachary  who  doubted  the  angel,  or  Moses.  Mortal  sins  also, 
though  repented  of  and  put  away,  are  often  visited  with  temporal 
punishment,  as  in  the  case  of  Adam  and  David.  The  Council  of  Trent 
(6,  30),  teaches  that  whoever  does  not  satisfy  completely  for  his  sins 
on  earth,  must  do  so  in  purgatory.  So  on  earth  a  man  may  be  pun 
ished  by  a  fine ;  if  he  does  not  pay  it  he  must  go  to  prison.  Hence  we 
should  not  be  satisfied  with  the  penance  given  us  by  our  confessor; 
we  should  add  something  of  our  own.  Much  may  be  done  by  patient 
enduring  of  sickness  or  willing  acceptance  of  death.  Not  even  the 
least  sins  should  be  neglected ;  they  must  all  be  atoned  for. 

The  sufferings  in  purgatory  include  exclusion  from  the 
vision  of  God  and  other  great  pains. 

Hence  the  prayer:  "Grant  rest  to  the  souls  of  the  faithful  de 
parted,  and  let  perpetual  light  shine  upon  them."  When  we  burn 
candles  by  the  coffins  or  on  the  graves  of  the  dead,  we  pray  that  the 
poor  souls  may  be  admitted  to  the  sight  of  God.  Apart  from  the 
duration,  there  is  no  distinction  between  the  torments  of  hell  and 
those  of  purgatory  (St.  Thomas).  "The  same  fire,"  says  St. 
Augustine,  "  burns  the  lost  and  the  saved."  Hence  we  see  why 
the  Church,  in  the  "Requiem  Mass,  prays  God  to  deliver  the  souls 
from  the  pains  of  hell  (Benedict  XIV.).  St.  Augustine  tells  us  that 
the  pains  of  purgatory  are  greater  than  the  sufferings  of  all  the 
martyrs ;  and  St.  Thomas  teaches  that  the  least  pain  in  purgatory  is 
greater  than  the  greatest  on  earth.  "  All  the  tortures  that  one  can 
conceive  of  in  this  world  are,"  says  St.  Cyril  of  Alexandria,  "  refresh 
ing,  compared  with  the  least  pain  of  purgatory." 

The  greatness  and  duration  of  the  sufferings  in  purgatory 
vary  according  to  the  gravity  of  the  sins. 

St.  Augustine  tells  us  that  those  are  longer  in  the  purging  fire 
who  have  been  more  attached  to  the  goods  of  this  world;  that  those 
who  have  grown  old  in  sin  take  longer  to  pass  through  the  cleansing 
stream.  The  foundation  Masses  going  on  for  centuries,  lead  us  to 
suppose  that  some  souls  have  to  suffer  through  many  generations  of 
men;  were  this  impossible  the  Church  would  have  abolished  such 
Masses.  Catherine  Emmerich,  in  her  revelations,  says  that  Our  Lord 
descends  into  purgatory  every  Good  Friday,  and  frees  one  or  more 
souls  of  those  who  had  been  witnesses  of  His  Passion.  Even  where 
the  punishment  has  lasted  only  an  hour,  we  are  told  by  St.  Bridget, 
that  it  appears  intolerably  long.  Those  who  wear  the  scapular  are 
assured  of  a  considerable  shortening  of  their  sufferings.  Several 
saints  hold  the  view  that  some  souls  suffer  no  pain  but  are  merely 
excluded  from  the  vision  of  God.  According  to  St.  Mathilda  the  suf 
ferings  in  purgatory  are  in  intimate  relation  to  the  past  sins.  St. 
Bridget  saw  souls  suffering  most  in  those  things  in  which  they  had 
sinned  most;  and  St.  Margaret  of  Cortona  saw  some  who  could  not 
be  released  till  the  evil  done  by  them  on  earth  had  been  made  good. 

2.  That  there  is  a  purgatory  we  learn  from  the  teaching  of 
Christ,  and  especially  from  the  practice  and  doctrine  of  the 

266  Faith. 

Moreover,  it  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  nearly  all  the  nations 
of  the  earth  believe  in  a  purging  fire.  In  addition  we  know 
from  sound  reason  that  there  must  be  a  purgatory. 

Christ's  words  are :  "  He  that  shall  speak  against  the  Holy  Ghost, 
'it  shall  not  be  forgiven  him,  neither  in  this  world  nor  in  the  world 
to  come"  (Matt.  xii.  32);  He  compares  purgatory  to  a  prison: 
"  Amen,  I  say  to  thee,  thou  shalt  not  go  out  from  thence  till  thou 
repay  the  last  farthing"  (Matt.  v.  26).  And  St.  Paul  adds  that 
many  shall  be  saved,  yet  so  as  by  fire  (1  Cor.  iii.  15).  The  practice 
of  the  Church  in  the  following  points  reminds  us  of  purgatory:  the 
prayer  for  the  dead  said  in  every  Mass  (the  Memento  after  the 
Consecration) ;  the  Masses  for  the  dead,  in  particular  those  on  All 
Souls'  Day,  on  the  day  of  death  and  burial,  and  on  anniversaries; 
the  passing-bell  (which  calls  upon  us  to  pray  for  the  departed),  and 
the  solemnities  on  All  Souls'  Day,  which  were  first  introduced  in 
998  by  the  abbot  Odilo  of  Cluny,  and  later  extended  by  the  Popes  to 
the  universal  Church.  St.  John  Chrysostom  reminds  us  that 
"  the  practices  of  Christians  are  not  meant  for  mere  show,  but 
that  they  are  ordained  by  the  Holy  Spirit."  The  bishops  of  the 
Church  at  Florence  (1439),  and  Trent  (1445-1463)  expressly  defined 
that  there  is  a  purgatory.  The  idea  of  purgatory  is  common  among 
the  nations.  The  Egyptians  believed  in  the  transmigration  of  souls 
into  animals.  Among  the  Greeks  we  have  the  story  of  Prometheus, 
condemned  to  be  bound  to  a  rock  and  his  liver  gnawed  by  a 
vulture,  because  he  stole  fire  from  heaven.  The  Jews  had  the  same 
belief,  for  they  offered  sacrifice  for  the  dead,  as  we  saw  in  the  case 
of  Judas  Machabeus.  The  early  Christians  were  accustomed  to  pray 
for  the  dead  during  the  holy  sacrifice.  St.  Augustine  relates  that 
his  mother  St.  Monica,  on  her  death-bed,  said  to  him  and  his  brother : 
"  Bury  me  where  you  will ;  only,  I  pray  you,  think  of  me  always  at 
God's  altar."  St.  John  Chrysostom  declares  that  the  Christians  from 
the  very  beginning  prayed  during  Mass  for  the  dead  by  order  of  the 
apostles.  St.  Cyril  of  Jerusalem  writes :  "  It  is  of  great  service  to 
pray  for  the  dead  when  the  holy  sacrifice  is  being  offered."  Hence 
the  oldest  Mass-books  contain  prayers  for  the  dead.  Reason  also 
teaches  that  there  must  be  a  purgatory.  We  know,  for  instance, 
that  nothing  defiled  can  enter  heaven  (Apoc.  xxi.  27) ;  yet  there  is 
many  a  man  not  so  wicked  as  to  be  lost  forever ;  and  if  he  can  enter 
neither  heaven  nor  hell  there  must  be  a  third  place  where  he  can  be 

3.  The  faithful  on  earth  can  help  the  holy  souls  in  purgatory 
by  good  works;  in  particular  by  prayer,  fasting,  alms-deeds,  by 
offering  or  being  present  at  Mass,  by  receiving  the  sacraments 
and  gaining  indulgences. 

The  holy  souls  cannot  help  themselves,  since  they  can  no  longer 
do  good  works  to  satisfy  for  their  sins.  After  death  "the  night 
cometh  when  no  man  can  work  "  (John  ix.  4).  Hence  they  must  pay 
off  their  debt  by  enduring  the  pains  which  God  has  laid  upon  them. 
Yet  we  on  earth  can  help  to  diminish  their  pains  by  Masses,  by 
prayer  and  almsgiving,  and  other  works  of  piety  (Council  of  Lyons, 
ii.,  1274) ;  the  holy  sacrifice  is  of  all  things  the  most  helpful  to 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  267 

them  (Council  of  Trent,  25),  and  according  to  St.  Bonaventure  the 
offering  of  holy  communion  is  of  very  great  assistance.  "  Not  by 
weeping,"  says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  "  but  by  prayer  and  almsgiving 
are  the  dead  relieved."  No  pompous  funeral  nor  profusion  of  wreaths 
are  of  any  avail  without  good  works ;  it  is  far  more  to  the  purpose  to 
give  to  the  poor  the  money  which  is  spent  on  idle  show.  As  to  the 
prayers,  God  does  not  regard  so  much  their  length  as  their  fervor. 
Christ  once  said  to  St.  Gertrude :  "  A  single  word  from  the  heart 
has  far  more  power  to  free  a  soul  than  the  recital  of  many  prayers 
and  psalms  without  devotion ;  the  hands  are  cleaned  better  by  a  little 
water  and  much  rubbing  than  by  merely  pouring  a  large  quantity 
of  water  over  them."  We  are  not  to  conclude  from  this  that  in  or 
dinary  cases  a  short  prayer,  an  Our  Father,  for  instance,  will  at  once 
set  free  a  soul.  "  For,"  says  Maldonatus,  "  God  would  be  very  cruel 
if  He  kept  a  soul,  for  which  He  had  shed  His  own  blood,  in  such  ter 
rible  suffering  for  the  sake  of  an  Our  Father  which  had  been  omitted." 
The  Church  uses  holy  water  in  the  burial  service  because  it  has  great 
efficacy  for  the  holy  souls.  But  the  greatest  help  which  we  can  give 
is  the  Heroic  Act,  that  is,  the  resignation  in  their  behalf  of  all  the 
satisfaction  made  to  God  by  our  good  works.  Those  who  make 
this  act  gain,  every  time  they  approach  the  Holy  Table,  a  plenary 
indulgence  applicable  to  the  holy  souls ;  and  priests,  who  make  the 
Heroic  Act,  have,  every  day  they  say  Mass,  the  personal  privilege  of 
a  privileged  altar  (Pius  IX.,  Sept.  10,  1852). 

The  relatives  of  the  departed  are  bound  to  help  them. 

To  them  apply  the  words  of  Holy  Writ:  "Have  pity  on  me,  at 
least  you  my  friends,  because  the  hand  of  the  Lord  hath  touched  me  " 
(Job  xix.  21).  God  sometimes  reveals  the  unhappy  state  of  the  dead 
to  their  relatives.  In  the  year  202  St.  Perpetua  saw  in  a  dream  her 
young  brother  imprisoned  in  a  dark  place,  all  covered  with  dirt,  and 
parched  with  thirst.  She  began  to  offer  up  fervent  prayer  for  him, 
and  soon  after  he  appeared  again  to  her  but  this  time  beautiful  and 
happy  (Meh.  vi.,  413).  When  St.  Elizabeth  of  Thuringia  received 
news  of  the  death  of  her  mother  Gertrude,  Queen  of  Hungary,  she 
began  to  pray  and  scourge  herself  with  disciplines,  and  soon  she  had 
the  satisfaction  of  seeing  her  mother  in  a  vision,  and  of  knowing  that 
she  was  delivered  from  purgatory.  Yet  we  should  not  rely  too  much 
on  the  good  works  which  our  relatives  may  do  for  us  after  death; 
for  the  proverb  comes  often  only  too  true :  "  Out  of  sight,  out  of 
mind ;"  and  besides,  after  all,  the  works  done  for  us  after  death  can 
avail  us  only  to  a  limited  extent.  "  One  Mass  devoutly  heard  during 
life,"  says  St.  Anselm,  "  is  of  more  value  than  a  great  sum  left  for 
the  celebration  of  a  hundred  Masses  after  death."  "  God,"  says  St. 
Bonaventure,  "values  more  a  little  voluntary  penance  done  in  this 
life  than  a  severe  and  involuntary  satisfaction  in  the  next." 

Prayer  for  the  dead  is  of  great  benefit  to  ourselves,  for  it  is 
a  work  of  mercy. 

It  might  be  objected  that  by  doing  too  much  for  the  -ioly  souls,  a 
man  neglects  himself.  But  this  is  not  true.  Prayer  confers  a  blessing 
on  him  who  is  prayed  for,  and  on  him  who  prays.  He  who  has  pity 
on  the  holy  souls  will  find  in  God  a  merciful  Judge :  "  Blessed  are  the 

268  Faith. 

merciful,  for  they  shall  obtain  mercy  "  (Matt.  v.  7)  ;  Christ  accepts 
every  deed  of  mercy  as  a  favor  done  to  Himself  (Cf.  Matt.  xxv.  40)  ; 
the  departed  also  display  their  gratitude  when  they  get  to  heaven. 
Says  Marie  Lataste :  "  Thou  canst  do  nothing  more  acceptable  to  God 
or  profitable  to  thyself  than  to  pray  for  the  holy  souls;  for  they  will 
be  mindful  of  your  favors  in  heaven,  and  will  pray  unceasingly  for 
you  .  .  .  that  you  may  become  holier  in  life  and  be  freed  from  pur 
gatory  soon  after  death."  "  It  is  a  holy  and  wholesome  thought  to 
pray  for  the  dead,  that  they  may  be  loosed  from  sins  "  (2  Mach.  xii. 


The  Jews  had  some  sort  of  belief  that  the  bodies  of  the  dead 
would  rise  again.  Job  consoled  himself  in  the  midst  of  his  suffer 
ings  by  the  thought  of  the  resurrection  (Job  xix.  25)  ;  so  too  the 
brothers  Machabees  (2  Mach.  vii.  11) ;  and  Martha  said  to  Jesus : 
"  I  know  that  my  brother  will  rise  again  in  the  resurrection  at  the 
Last  Day"  (John  xi.  24). 

Christ  on  the  Last  Day  will  raise  the  bodies  of  all  men  from 
the  dead,  and  unite  them  to  the  soul  forever. 

1.  He  often  declared  that  He  would  raise  the  bodies  of  all 
men  from  the  grave,  and  proved  His  power  by  miracles;  this 
resurrection  will  be  heralded  by  many  signs  in  nature. 

We  proclaim  in  the  Apostles'  Creed  that  Christ  will  come  to  judge 
the  living  and  the  dead ;  that  is,  He  will  call  to  life  the  bodies  of  those 
who  are  already  dead,  while  for  those  who  survive  till  that  day  such 
a  change  will  take  place  in  their  bodies  that  in  a  moment  they  will  die 
and  awake  again  to  a  new  life  (1  Thess.  iv.  16)  ;  those  will  arise  who 
are  in  the  grace  of  God  as  well  as  those  who  are  in  mortal  sin  (John 
v.  28 ;  Matt.  xxv.  31)  ;  and  this  resurrection  will  take  place  in  a  mo 
ment  (1  Cor.  xv.  52).  Christ  announced  that  He  would  raise  the 
dead  to  life  again :  "  The  hour  cometh  wherein  all  that  are  in  the 
graves  shall  hear  the  voice  of  the  Son  of  God.  And  they  that  have 
done  good  things  shall  come  forth  unto  the  resurrection  of  life;  but 
they  that  have  done  evil  unto  the  resurrection  of  judgment "  (John  v. 
28,  29) ;  on  another  occasion:  "  He  that  eateth  My  flesh  and1  drinketh 
My  blood  hath  everlasting  life,  and  I  will  raise  him  up  in  the  Last 
Day"  (John  vi.  55).  Our  Lord  often  compared  death  to  sleep,  e.g., 
when  He  said  that  the  daughter  of  Jairus  (Matt.  ix.  24)  and  Lazarus 
(John  xi.  11)  were  sleeping.  In  face  of  the  fact  of  the  resurrection 
death  may  well  be  called  a  sleep  (1  Thess.  iv.  13).  The  following 
miracles  were  performed  by  Christ  in  proof  of  His  power  to  raise  the 
dead ;  the  raising  of  the  daughter  of  Jairus  in  her  own  house,  that  of 
the  son  of  the  widow  of  Nairn  before  the  gates  of  the  city,  and  that  of 
Lazarus  from  the  grave  itself.  We  might  add  His  own  glorious 
resurrection  and  that  of  His  Virgin  Mother.  In  very  truth  Christ 
might  say  of  Himself :  "  I  am  the  resurrection  and  the  life  "  (John 
xi.  25).  Many  natural  phenomena  show  that  the  idea  of  the  resurrec 
tion  is  in  harmony  with  the  rest  of  nature;  for  instance,  our  own 
periods  of  rest  and  activity,  the  reawakening  of  spring  after  the 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  269 

winter  sleep;  the  change  in  many  insects  of  the  larva  into  the  pupa, 
and  of  the  pupa  again  into  the  butterfly ;  the  coming  forth  of  the  bird 
from  the  egg,  the  sprouting  of  the  seed  buried  in  the  earth,  and  so  on. 

2.  God  will  awake  our  bodies  to  life  again  to  prove  His  jus 
tice,  and  to  honor  Our  Redeemer. 

If  the  soul  only  were  rewarded,  there  would  be  a  want  of  com 
pleteness  ;  "  for,"  as  Tertullian  says,  "  there  are  many  good  works,  such 
as  fasting,  chastity,  martyrdom,  which  can  be  carried  out  in  their 
perfection  only  in  the  body;  hence  it  is  right  that  the  latter  should 
share  in  the  reward  of  the  soul."  God's  justice  demands  that  the  body 
should  take  part  in  the  triumph.  Again,  Tertullian  reminds  us 
that  Our  Saviour  redeemed  mankind  body  and  soul.  Had  the  body 
been  unredeemed  the  devil  would  have  secured  a  triumph  by  destroy 
ing  it.  Such  a  thought  is  unworthy.  "  By  a  man  came  death,  and  by 
a  man  the  resurrection  of  the  dead  "  (1  Cor.  xv.  21). 

3.  As  to  the  state  of  our  bodies  after  the  resurrection,  we  have 
the  following  facts:    (1).  After  the  resurrection  we  shall  have 
the  same 'bodies  as  we  now  have.     (2).    The  bodies  of  the  just 
will  be  glorious  and  those  of  the  wicked  hideous.     (3).  All  the 
risen  bodies  will  be  without  defect  and  immortal. 

We  shall  have  the  same  bodies  after  the  resurrection:  "For  this 
corruptible  must  put  on  incorruption,  and  this  mortal  must  put  on 
immortality"  (1  Cor.  xv.  53).  This  we  learn  also  from  the  Atha- 
nasian  Creed.  Even  Job  knew  it  to  be  true :  "  I  shall  be  clothed  again 
with  my  skin,  and  in  my  flesh  I  shall  see  my  God  "  (Job  xix.  26)  ; 
and  one  of  the  Machabean  brothers,  in  the  midst  of  his  torments, 
addressed  the  tyrant  thus  as  his  limbs  were  being  torn  away :  "  These 
I  have  from  heaven  but  for  the  laws  of  God  I  now  despise  them;  be 
cause  I  hope  to  receive  them  again  from  Him"  (2  Mach.  vii.  11). 
While  St.  Perpetua  and  her  fellow  martyrs  were  being  exposed  to  the 
vulgar  gaze  of  the  heathens,  she  addressed  them  thus :  "  Look  well 
and  mark  now  our  faces,  that  you  may  know  them  again  in  the  Day 
of  Judgment ;  "  and  her  words  converted  many  of  the  bystanders. 
For  this  reason  we  rise  in  our  bodies  "  that  every  one  may  receive  the 
proper  things  of  the  body,  according  as  he  hath  done  whether  it  be 
good  or  evil"  (2  Cor.  v.  10).  It  is  not  beyond  God's  power  to  rejoin 
the  scattered  elements  of  our  bodies ;  if  He  could  make  that  which 
had  no  existence,  He  can  replace  that  which  already  has  had  an  exist 
ence.  St.  Thomas  teaches  us  that  just  as  our  bodies  remain  the  same 
bodies  over  periods  of  ten  or  twenty  years,  in  which  time  the  com 
ponent  elements  have  been  renewed  again  and  again,  so  the  bodies  of 
the  risen  will  be  the  same,  even  supposing  they  are  not  composed  of 
the  same  identical  elements  as  before.  It  is  the  thought  of  the  resur 
rection  that  makes  Christians  careful  in  the  burial  of  the  dead,  and  in 
their  veneration  of  the  relics  of  the  saints.  Our  risen  bodies  will  not 
be  all  alike.  "  We  shall  all  rise  again ;  but  we  shall  not  all  be 
changed"  (1  Cor.  xv.  51).  The  bodies  of  the  just  will  resemble  the 
glorified  body  of  Christ  (Phil.  iii.  21),  and  will  have  the  following 
properties:  they  will  be  impassible  (Apoc.  xxi.  4),  shining  like  the 
sun  (Matt.  xiii.  43),  swift  as  thought,  and  capable  of  penetrating 

270  -Faith. 

matter.  The  word  spiritual  is  sometimes  used  to  describe  the 
risen  body,  because  the  latter  will  be  quite  subject  to  the  spirit  and 
freed  from  earthly  concupiscence  (Luke  xx.  35).  The  beauty  of  the 
body  will  be  in  proportion  to  that  of  the  soul  (Rom.  viii.  11 ;  1  Cor.  xv. 
41).  The  most  wretched  cripple,  if  he  has  lived  a  good  life,  will  have 
a  beautiful  body;  while  one  who  has  had  every  personal  charm  and 
lived  a  bad  life,  will  rise  again  to  be  an  object  of  aversion.  The 
bodies  of  sinners  will  have  to  suffer,  and  will  be  bound  hand  and  foot 
(Matt.  xxii.  13).  The  risen  bodies  will  be  without  any  defect.  The 
martyrs  will  recover  their  limbs,  and  their  wounds,  visible  like 
Christ's,  will  be  glorious  and  resplendent.  The  risen  bodies  will  also 
have  no  trace  of  old  age,  sickness,  or  mutilation.  The  wicked  will 
have  their  bodies  also  complete,  but  for  punishment;  for  the  more 
perfect  the  body  is  the  more  it  can  suffer.  All  the  bodies  of  the  risen 
will  be  immortal  (1  Cor.  xv.  42).  Just  as  in  paradise  the  fruit  of  the 
tree  of  life  gave  immortality  to  the  body,  so  now  the  Blessed  Sacra 
ment  in  communion,  for  it  is  a  pledge  of  the  resurrection  and  of  im 
mortality  (John  vi.  55).  The  bodies  of  the  damned  are  also  im 
mortal,  but  for  their  torment. 

4.  Belief  in  the  resurrection  is  a  great  help  to  us;  it  con 
soles  us  in  our  sufferings,  and  comforts  our  relatives  and  friends 
when  we  come  to  die. 

Job  cheered  himself  with  this  reflection  (Job  xix.  25) ;  and  it  was 
belief  in  the  resurrection  which  gave  the  early  Christians  such  cour 
age  and  calm  in  the  great  persecutions.  Christians  who  believe  in 
the  resurrection  ought  not  to  mourn  for  their  dead  like  the  heathen 
who  have  no  hope  (1  Thess.  iv.  12).  St.  Cyprian,  Bishop  of  Carthage 
(258  A.D.),  used  to  caution  his  flock  against  such  excessive  grief,  lest 
the  heathen  should  come  to  think  that  the  Christians  had  no  firm 
belief  in  the  life  to  come.  Hence  he  considered  it  unbecoming  to 
wear  mourning  for  those  who  were  rejoicing  before  the  throne  of 
God.  Those  only  should  be  mourned  for  who  died  in  mortal  sin. 


1.  Immediately  after  the  resurrection  the  general  judgment 
will  take  place. 

For  Christ  has  often  said  that  after  the  resurrection  all  man 
kind  will  be  assembled  before  Him  to  be  judged. 

The  return  of  Christ  as  Judge  was  announced  to  the  apostles  by 
the  angels  on  the  occasion  of  Our  Lord's  ascent  into  heaven  (Acts 
i.  11).  Christ  Himself  spoke  about  the  judgment  in  the  following 
terms:  (1).  The  form  of  a  cross  is  to  appear  in  the  heavens  announc 
ing  the  coming  of  Christ :  and  the  sight  of  it  will  fill  the  wicked  with 
confusion  (Matt.  xxiv.  30).  (2).  Christ  will  come  in  great  power 
and  majesty  (Matt.  xvi.  27;  Luke  xxi.  27).  Hence  we  cannot  con 
clude  that  the  divine  essence  will  be  manifested  to  all  at  the  judg 
ment,  for  this  no  man  could  see  without  being  rapt  in  heavenly  joy. 
According  to  St.  Thomas,  the  lost  will  have  some  sort  of  perception 
of  God's  majesty  and  essence.  Possibly  they  will  see  it  as  manifested 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  271 

through  the  veil  of  the  sacred  humanity  of  Christ  at  the  Judgment. 
(3).  The  holy  angels  will  accompany  Our  Saviour  (Matt.  xxv.  31). 
They  helped  to  the  salvation  of  mankind  and  now  they  will  receive 
their  meed  of  honor.  (4).  All  the  nations  of  the  earth  will  be  assem 
bled  before  Christ  seated  on  His  throne  (Matt.  xxv.  32).  (5).  He  will 
separate  the  sheep  and  the  goats;  the  blessed  will  be  placed  on  His 
right  hand,  and  the  lost  on  His  left  (Matt.  xxv.  33).  When  the 
prophets  speak  of  the  judgment  being  held  in  the  valley  of  Josaphat 
(Joel  iii.  2),  they  do  not  mean  that  the  nations  will  be  gathered  into 
that  particular  valley  lying  between  Jerusalem  and  Mount  Olivet; 
they  mean  simply  that  mankind  will  be  assembled  in  the  vale  of  the 
"  judgment  of  God  "  (Josaphat  in  Hebrew  means  the  judgment  of 
God),  i.e.,  in  some  place  appointed  by  God  for  this  judgment.  We 
speak  of  the  general  judgment  because  angels  as  well  as  men  will  be 
judged  (Jude  6),  and  of  the  Last  Judgment  because  it  will  be  held 
on  the  Last  Day. 

2.  The  general  judgment  will  take  place  in  order  that  God's 
wisdom  and  justice  may  be  made  manifest  to  all  creatures. 
Christ  will  be  Judge  in  order  that  the  honor  of  which  He  was 
robbed  may  be  restored  to  Him  before  all  creation. 

On  this  day  God  will  reveal  to  men  with  what  wisdom  He  dis 
posed  the  career  of  mankind  and  of  each  individual,  so  that  all  might 
attain  their  end  and  be  happy  even  on  earth.  It  will  then  be  seen 
how  various  kinds  of  evil,  the  sufferings  and  even  the  sins  of  men 
have  been  turned  by  God  to  their  advantage.  Much  which  the  world 
now  esteems  foolishness  will  then  be  seen  to  have  been  wisdom.  This 
judgment  will  also  demonstrate  God's  justice;  He  will  then  bring 
forward  what  could  not  have  been  brought  forward  at  the  particular 
judgment.  The  deeds,  words,  writings,  of  many  men  have  produced 
their  results  often  only  after  their  death ;  what  blessings,  for  instance, 
apostles  and  missionaries  have  conferred  on  whole  nations,  and  what 
harm  has  been  done  by  heretics,  not  only  to  their  contemporaries,  but 
to  those  coming  after  them.  Christ  will  be  Judge,  this  office  de 
manding  wisdom  in  an  especial  degree,  and  Christ  is  the  eternal  wis 
dom.  Moreover  He  will  be  Judge  because  the  honor  due  to  Him 
was  refused  by  so  many  and  by  all  irreligious  and  godless  men  ever 
since.  He  was  condemned  as  a  malefactor  by  Pilate  and,  as  the  Apos 
tle  says,  "  Christ  crucified  was  to  the  Jews  a  stumbling  block,  and  to 
the  Gentiles  foolishness"  (1  Cor.  i.  23).  Then  will  His  enemies  call 
upon  the  mountains  to  fall  upon  them,  and  the  hills  to  hide  them 
(Luke  xxiii.  30)  ;  hence  Christ's  words :  "  For  neither  doth  the  Father 
judge  any  man,  but  hath  given  all  judgment  to  the  Son.  That  all 
men  may  honor  the  Son  as  they  honor  the  Father"  (John  v.  22). 
When  Christ  was  on  earth  He  repudiated  all  judicial  power :  "  I 
judge  not  any  man"  (John  viii.  15).  Christ  is  Judge  at  the  Last 
Day  because  He  became  man :  "  The  Father  hath  given  Him  power 
to  do  judgment  because  He  is  the  Son  of  man  "  (John  v.  27).  God's 
mercy,  too,  has  ordained  that  the  Judge  of  mankind  should  be  a  man. 
No  wonder  St.  Thomas  of  Villanova  exclaimed  in  ecstasy,  "Happy 
am  I  to  have  my  Saviour  for  my  Judge." 

3.  Christ  will  conduct  the  judgment  in  the  following  man- 

272  Faith. 

ner:  He  will  reveal  all,  even  the  most  hidden  things,  will  exact 
an  account  from  all  men  of  the  works  of  mercy  they  have  or 
ought  to  have  performed,  and  by  a  final  sentence  separate  forever 
the  good  from  the  bad. 

The  general  judgment  is  thus  a  solemn  repetition  of  the  partic 
ular  judgment ;  and  it  might  also  be  called  a  repetition  of  the  world's 
history,  for  each  event  will  be  represented  to  the  eyes  of  the  assem 
bled  multitude :  "  And  the  books  were  opened  .  .  .  and  the  dead 
were  judged  by  those  things  which  were  written  in  the  books  accord 
ing  to  their  works"  (Apoc.  xx.  12).  The  Lord  "will  bring  to  light 
the  hidden  things  of  darkness  "  (1  Cor.  iv.  5).  He  "  will  search  Jeru 
salem  with  lamps"  (Sophon.  i.  12).  It  is  to  the  general  judgment 
that  these  words  of  Our  Lord  apply :  "  There  is  not  anything  secret 
that  shall  not  be  made  manifest,  nor  hidden  that  shall  not  be 
known  and  come  abroad"  (Luke  viii.  17).  When  the  sun  rises  the 
snows  melt  and  leave  bare  all  that  lies  beneath  them;  so  shall  it  be 
when  the  Sun  of  justice  mounts  the  heavens.  All  sins  will  be  re 
vealed,  and  the  revelation  will  be  worse  than  hell  to  the  sinner, 
while  to  the  just  there  will  be  glory  because  they  did  penance.  "  The 
white  robe  of  sanctifying  grace,"  as  St.  Gertrude  tells  us,  "  will  hide 
the  sin,  and  instead  of  the  stains  which  were  removed  by  penance 
there  will  be  ornaments  of  gold."  All  good  works  will  then  be  revealed 
(Eccles.  xii.  14),  and  the  secrets  of  men's  hearts  shall  be  known 
(1  Cor.  iv.  5).  The  martyrs  will  receive  honor  for  the  contempt 
which  they  endured,  and  sinners  will  exclaim  as  they  look  on  the 
just:  "  These  are  they  whom  we  had  some  time  in  derision  and  for  a 
parable  of  reproach.  We  fools,  esteemed  their  life  madness  and  their 
end  without  honor.  Behold  how  they  are  numbered  among  the  chil 
dren  of  God  and  their  lot  is  among  the  saints"  (Wisd.  v.  3-5). 
Works  of  mercy  will  be  required  of  every  man  (Matt.  xxv.  34-36) ; 
the  Gospel  explains  to  us  why  the  saints  and  all  pious  Christians  are 
so  eager  in  the  performance  of  works  of  mercy.  When  people  asked 
St.  Elizabeth  why  she  was  so  zealous  in  good  works,  she  used  to 
answer :  "  I  am  preparing  for  the  Day  of  Judgment."  There  will  be 
rio  question  then  of  riches  or  social  position,  for  God  is  no  respecter 
of  persons  (Rom.  ii.  11);  on  the  contrary:  "to  whomsoever  much  is 
given,  of  him  much  shall  be  required"  (Luke  xii.  48).  The  judg 
ment  will  end  with  the  sentence  of  the  Judge,  which  will  divide  for 
ever  the  good  from  the  bad  (Matt.  xxv.  46).  This  separation  was 
foreshadowed  in  the  parable  of  the  cockle :  "  Gather  up  first  the  cockle 
and  bind  it  in  bundles  to  burn,  but  the  wheat  gather  ye  into  My 
barn"  (Matt.  xiii.  30).  Many  friends  and  relatives  will  be  separated 
forever  on  that  day  (Matt.  xxiv.  40)  ;  many  who  were  rich  and  power 
ful  will  be  lost,  and  their  dependents,  or  those  who  sued  as  beggars 
to  them,  will  be  saved.  "  Then,  too,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  creation 
will  take  on  a  new  and  glorious  form,  to  correspond  to  the  glorified 
bodies  of  the  elect."  "  We  look  for  new  heavens  and  a  new  earth 
according  to  His  promises,  in  which  justice  dwelleth "  (2  Pet.  iii. 
13).  The  existing  universe  will  be  destroyed  by  fire,  and  this  fire 
will  purge  those  who  have  yet  to  do  penance  for  sin ;  and  since  there 
will  be  no  purgatory  after  the  Pay  of  Judgment  the  want  of  duration 
will  be  made  up  by  the  intensity  of  the  pain;  as  for  the  just,  they, 

The  Apostles'  Creed.  273 

like  the  three  children  in  the  furnace,  will  remain  untouched  by  the 
flames.  The  thought  of  the  judgment  is  a  wholesome  one.  St. 
Methodius  had  a  picture  executed  for  the  King  of  the  Bulgarians, 
representing  the  dividing  of  the  good  from  the  bad  at  the  Last  Day; 
the  king  could  never  expel  the  image  from  his  mind,  and  in  con 
sequence  became  a  Christian  and  promoted  Christianity  with  great 
zeal  in  his  kingdom.  In  the  Acts  we  read  (Acts  xxiv.  25)  how  Felix 
trembled  when  St.  Paul  spoke  of  the  judgment  to  come;  yet  Felix 
does  not  seem  to  have  acted  up  to  grace,  for  he  broke  off  the  discourse 
and  gave  up  St.  Paul  to  the  Jews. 

2.  The  Day  of  Judgment  is  unknown  to  us,  though  certain 
signs  have  been  revealed  which  are  to  herald  its  approach. 

Christ  said:  "  Of  that  day  and  hour  no  one  knoweth;  no  not  the 
angels  of  heaven,  but  the  Father  alone"  (Matt.  xxiv.  36).  The 
knowledge  of  it  would  be  of  as  little  use  as  the  knowledge  of  the  hour 
of  our  death.  St.  Augustine  recommends  us  to  do  now  as  we  should 
do  if  to-morrow  were  to  be  the  Last  Day ;  then  we  shall  have  no  occa 
sion  to  dread  the  coming  of  the  Judge.  Christ  gave  some  signs  of 
the  approach  of  the  Last  Day  (Matt.  xxiv.  3,  etc.),  so  that  Chris 
tians  might  remain  steadfast  and  courageous.  The  signs  are : 

1.  The  Gospel  shall  be  preached  to  the  whole  world  (Matt, 
xxiv.  14). 

Some  two-thirds  of  the  world  are  still  pagans. 

2.  The  greater  part  of  mankind  will  be  without  faith  (Luke 
xviii.  8;    2  Thess.  ii.  3)  and  immersed  in  things  of  earth  (Luke 
xvii.  26,  etc.). 

Mankind  will  be  much  as  they  were  in  the  days  of  Noe  (Matt. 
xxiv.  38). 

3.  Antichrist  will  appear. 

Antichrist  is  a  man  who  will  give  himself  out  to  be  Christ,  and 
by  the  help  of  the  devil  will  perform  many  wonders  (2  Thess.  ii.  9). 
He  will  be  a  terror  by  the  persecution  which  he  will  raise  (Apoc.  xx. 
3-9).  It  is  probable  that  he  will  choose  for  his  kingdom  Jerusalem 
and  those  places  where  Christ  lived.  Our  Lord  will  kill  him  on  the 
Last  Day  (2  Thess.  ii.  8).  Types  and  forerunners  of  Antichrist  have 
existed  from  time  to  time  (1  John  ii.  18),  "for  the  mystery  of  iniq 
uity  already  worketh  "  (2  Thess.  ii.  7). 

4.  Henoch  and  Elias  will  return  and  preach  penance. 

"Behold  I  will  send  you  Elias  the  prophet  before  the  coming  of 
the  great  and  dreadful  day  of  the  Lord.  And  he  shall  turn  the  hearts 
of  the  fathers  to  the  children  and  the  hearts  of  the  children  to  their 
fathers  "  (Mai.  iv.  5)  ;  i.e.,  he  will  bring  round  the  Jews  to  the  senti 
ments  of  their  forefathers,  the  patriarchs;  Christ  also  foretold  that 
Elias  should  come  and  restore  all  things  (Matt.  xvii.  11).  Of  Henoch 
we  know  that  "  Henoch  pleased  God  and  was  translated  into  paradise 
that  he  may  give  repentance  to  the  nations"  (Ecclus.  xliv.  16). 
Henoch  and  Elias  will  preach  for  three  years  and  a  half,  and  recover 

274  FaitU. 

many  souls  from  Antichrist,  who  in  the  end  will  kill  them,  and  their 
bodies  will  be  left  miburied.  After  three  days  and  a  half  God  will 
raise  them  to  life  again  (Apoc.  xi.  3-11). 

5.  The  Jews  will  be  converted. 

The  conversion  of  the  Jews  was  foretold  by  Osee :  "  The  children 
of  Israel  shall  sit  many  days  without  king,  and  without  prince,  and 
without  sacrifice,  and  without  altar,  and  without  ephod,  and  without 
theraphim.  And  after  this  the  children  of  Israel  shall  return  and 
shall  seek  the  Lord  their  God  and  David  their  king;  and  they  shall 
fear  the  Lord  and  His  goodness  in  the  last  days  "  (Osee  iii.  4-5) ; 
blindness  was  to  be  the  lot  of  Israel  until  the  fulness  of  the  Gentiles 
should  come  in  (Rom.  xi.  25).  Elias  is  to  restore  the  tribes  of  Jacob 
(Ecclus.  xlviii.  10). 

6.  Dreadful  signs  will  appear  in  the  heavens  and  great  tribu 
lations  will  come  upon  mankind. 

"  The  sun  shall  be  darkened  and  the  moon  shall  not  give  her  light, 
and  the  stars  shall  fall  from  heaven  and  the  powers  of  the  heavens 
shall  be  moved  "  (Matt.  xxiv.  29)  ;  war,  pestilence,  and  famine  shall 
come  as  at  the  time  of  the  siege  of  Jerusalem  (Matt.  xxiv.  7,  etc.). 
Men  shall  wither  with  fear  and  from  expectation  of  the  things  that 
will  come  upon  the  earth  (Luke  xxi.  25). 



Christian  hope  is  the  confident  expectation  of  all  those  things 
which  Christ  promised  us  with  regard  to  the  fulfilment  of  God's 

"  Hope,"  says  St.  Paulinus,  "  gives  us  a  foretaste  of  the  prom 
ised  joys  of  paradise."  "  How  great  is  the  multitude  of  Thy  sweet 
ness,  O  Lord  .  .  .  which  Thou  hast  wrought  for  them  that  hope  in 
Thee  "  (Ps.  xxx.  20).  Such  hope  may  be  called  holy,  because  directed 
to  God  and  supernatural  things ;  by  this  is  fulfilled  the  precept  of  the 
Apostle:  "  Seek  the  things  that  are  above"  (Col.  iii.  1). 

1.  As  the  reward  of  carrying  out  God's  will,  Christ  has 
promised  us  eternal  happiness,  and  the  means  required  for  attain 
ing  it ;  in  particular  God's  grace,  temporal  goods  for  the  sustaining 
of  life,  forgiveness  of  sins,  help  in  our  necessities,  and  the  answer 
ing  of  our  prayers. 

Christ  promised  us  eternal  happiness  (1  John  ii.  25)  ;  "In  the 
house  of  My  Father  are  many  mansions.  If  not  I  would  have  told 
you  that  I  go  to  prepare  a  place  for  you  "  (John  xiv.  2)  ;  He  has  fur 
ther  promised  to  raise  our  bodies  again  after  death  (John  v.  28). 
The  desire  for  perfect  happiness  is  planted  deep  in  our  nature. 
Christ  also  promised  His  grace,  i.e.,  the  help  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  for 
His  will  is  that  all  men  be  saved  (1  Tim.  ii.  4).  Grace  is  absolutely 
necessary  for  salvation:  actual  grace  for  our  conversion,  sanctifying 
grace  for  entrance  into  heaven.  Temporal  goods  are  promised :  "  Be 

Christian  Hope.  275 

not  solicitous  for  your  life  what  you  shall  eat,  nor  for  your  body 
what  you  shall  put  on.  .  .  .  For  your  Father  knoweth  that  you  have 
need  of  all  these  things,"  and  we  are  taught  that  since  the  Father 
feeds  the  birds  of  the  air,  and  clothes  the  weeds  of  the  field,  much 
more  will  be  His  care  for  us  (Matt.  vi.  25-32).  The  experience  of 
the  saints  in  this  matter  is  a  great  consolation  and  lesson  to  us; 
over  and  over  again  they  have  been  in  difficulties  for  the  means  of 
subsistence,  yet  help  always  came.  Forgiveness  of  sin  is  assured  to  us 
if  we  wish  to  amend:  "  There  shall  be  joy  in  heaven  upon  one  sinner 
that  doth  penance,  more  than  over  ninety-nine  just  who  need  not 
penance"  (Luke  xv.  7).  The  parable  of  the  prodigal  son  and  of  the 
lost  sheep  reveal  to  us  how  readily  God  will  forgive  the  sinner :  "  So 
long  as  we  are  on  the  earth  it  is  never  too  late  to  repent,"  says  St. 
Cyprian.  The  penitent  thief  on  the  cross  found  salvation.  "  God 
wills  not  the  death  of  the  sinner,  but  that  he  be  converted  and  live  " 
(Ezech.  xviii.  32).  We  are  certain  of  help  in  our  necessities.  When 
the  apostles  were  filled  with  fear  at  the  storm  on  the  lake,  Christ's 
reproach  to  them  was:  "Why  do  you  fear,  O  ye  of  little  faith?" 
(Matt.  viii.  26).  God  is  called  the  "  helper  in  tribulations"  (Ps.  xlv. 
2).  It  is  true  He  seems  at  times  to  delay  answering  our  prayers, 
as  in  the  marriage-feast  at  Cana,  when  He  said :  "  My  hour  is  not  yet 
come  "  (John  ii.  4)  ;  yet  the  longer  we  have  to  wait,  the  more  wonder 
ful  is  His  answer,  and  we  might  reflect  on  the  calming  of  the  storm  on 
the  lake,  on  the  release  of  St.  Peter  from  prison,  on  the  fate  of 
Aman,  the  persecutor  of  the  Jews  (Esther  vii.).  "  When  our  necessity 
is  greatest,"  says  St.  Ambrose,  "  God's  help  is  nearest."  Christ  prom 
ised  that  our  petitions  shall  always  be  heard :  "  If  you  shall  ask  Me 
anything  in  My  name,  that  will  I  do  "  (John  xiv.  14).  "  Amen,  Amen, 
I  say  to  you;  if  you  ask  the  Father  anything  in  My  name,  He  will 
give  it  you"  (John  xvi.  23). 

Christ  taught  us  in  the  Our  Father  to  ask  our  heavenly 
Father  for  all  these  things. 

The  second  petition  is  a  prayer  for  salvation,  the  third  for  grace, 
the  fourth  for  temporal  necessities,  the  fifth  for  forgiveness  of  sins, 
the  sixth  and  seventh  for  help  in  our  needs. 

2.  Christian  hope  is  based  on  faith,  for  we  hope  for  the  fulfil 
ment  of  God's  promises  because  we  believe  that  God  is  infinitely 
true,  infinitely  powerful,  and  infinitely  good,  and  that  Christ  has 
merited  all  for  us. 

"  We  are  firmly  convinced,"  says  St.  Clement  of  Rome,  "  that  He 
Who  forbade  deceit  cannot  Himself  deceive."  Hence  the  words  of  St. 
Paul :  "  Let  us  hold  fast  the  confession  of  our  hope  without  wavering, 
for  He  is  faithful  that  hath  promised"  (Heb.  x.  23).  Moreover,  we 
are  convinced  that  God,  to  Whom  nothing  is  impossible  (Luke  i.  37), 
is  able  to  carry  out  His  promises  (Rom.  iv.  18)  ;  that  God,  Who  is 
love  itself  (1  John  iv.  8),  is  more  ready  to  give  than  we  are  to  re 
ceive  (St.  Jerome)  ;  that  Christ,  by  His  death  on  the  cross,  has  mer 
ited  for  us  salvation  and  all  things  necessary  for  its  attainment. 
Thus  St.  Augustine,  "  I  could  never  hope  for  pardon  or  heaven  when 
I  think  of  my  great  sins,  but  I  venture  to  hope  that  through  the 

276  Faith. 

merits  of  Christ  I  may  be  saved  by  means  of  penance  and  keeping  of 
the  commandments." 

3.  He  only  who  carries  out  God's  will  can  hope  for  the  good 
things  promised  by  Christ. 

"  Not  every  one  that  saith  to  Me,  Lord,  Lord,  shall  enter  into  the 
kingdom  of  heaven,  but  he  that  doth  the  will  of  My  Father  Who  is  in 
heaven  "  (Matt.  vii.  21). 

Hence  the  sinner  can  hope  in  God  only  when  he  really  re 
pents  and  is  willing  to  reform  his  life. 

"  Hope  without  virtue  is  presumption,"  says  St.  Bernard.  If  the 
wicked  do  penance  for  their  sins  and  do  judgment  and  justice,  God 
will  no  more  remember  their  sins  (Ezech.  xviii.  21).  Manasses,  King 
of  Israel,  led  his  people  into  idolatry  and  put  the  prophets  to  death. 
For  this  he  was  given  over  to  his  enemies  and  led  in  chains  to  Baby 
lon.  There  he  repented  and  promised  amendment.  God  then  set 
him  free,  and  gave  him  back  his  kingdom,  and  Manasses  destroyed 
the  temples  of  the  idols  and  did  much  good  (2  Paralip.  xxxiii.). 

The  just  man  may  hope  that  God  will  provide  for  all  his 
needs;  yet  he  must  exert  himself  to  gain  those  things  which 
he  hopes  for  from  God. 

Christ's  words  are:  "  Seek  first  the  kingdom  of  God  and  His  jus 
tice,  and  all  other  things  shall  be  added  unto  you"  (Matt.  vi.  33). 
We  are  God's  servants.  As  St.  John  of  the  Cross  says :  "  It  is  our 
affair  to  serve  the  Lord;  it  is  His  to  provide  for  us."  l\To  one  who 
has  been  faithful  to  God's  commands  has  ever  been  abandoned  by 
Him  (Ecclus.  ii.  12).  "We  are  unjust  to  God  if  we  do  not  place 
great  confidence  in  Him,"  says  St.  Augustine.  "  Cast  all  your  care 
upon  the  Lord,  for  He  hath  care  of  you  "  (1  Pet.  v.  7).  We  must  riot, 
however,  desist  from  exerting  ourselves ;  we  must  use  those  gifts 
which  God  has  given  to  us ;  for  God  will  give  us  only  what  we  cannot 
obtain  by  our  own  exertions.  In  the  words  of  St.  Charles  Borromeo : 
"  We  must  hope  for  the  best  and  do  our  best."  "  To  expect  help  and 
to  do  nothing,"  says  St.  Francis  of  Sales,  "  is  to  tempt  God."  We 
ought  to  employ  the  natural  means  at  our  disposal;  St.  Paul,  for 
example,  though  he  had  the  gift  of  healing  sickness,  recommended 
Timothy  to  take  a  little  wine  for  the  sake  of  his  health  (1  Tim.  v. 
23).  And  all  this  is  true  of  any  kind  of  necessity:  "Help  yourself 
and  God  will  help  you." 

4.  A  wholesome  fear  of  falling  into  sin  must  always  accom 
pany  Christian  hope. 

God's  will  is  that  we  should  work  out  our  salvation  in  fear  and 
trembling  (Phil.  ii.  12).  ISTo  one  has  complete  assurance  that  he 
belongs  to  the  number  of  the  elect,  or  that  he  will  persevere  in  virtue 
till  death  (Council  of  Trent,  6,  Can.  15,  16).  Many  an  old  and  rotten 
ship  has  reached  harbor,  while  many  a  great  and  noble  vessel  has  sunk 
in  the  sea.  Men,  illumined  of  God,  like  Solomon,  have  fallen  into 
godless  ways  before  their  death,  and  many  a  great  sinner,  like  St. 
Augustine  or  St.  Mary  Magdalen,  has  become  a  very  great  saint. 

Christian  Hope.  277 

"  He  that  thinketh  himself  to  stand  take  heed  lest  he  fall "  (1 
Cor.  x.  12).  "We  carry  our  treasure  in  frail  and  earthen  vessels" 
(2  Cor.  iv.  7).  "Mistrust  of  ourselves,"  says  St.  Augustine, 
"  should  help  us  to  hope."  Hope  and  fear  are  companions ;  where  they 
reign,  the  heavenly  crown  is  easily  secured  (St.  John  Chrysostom). 
Hope  makes  us  strong  and  fear  makes  us  prudent.  Hope  is  like  the 
breeze  to  a  ship,  driving  it  in  to  the  harbor;  fear  is  like  the  ballast, 
steadying  it  and  preventing  shipwreck.  Fear,  so  far  from  diminishing 
hope,  increases  it.  "  Trust  in  God  and  distrust  of  ourselves,"  says 
St.  Francis  of  Sales,  "are  like  the  two  arms  of  a  balance;  as  one 
rises  the  other  goes  down;  the  more  we  distrust  ourselves,  the  more 
we  confide  in  God,  and  vice  versa" 

5.  Christian  hope  is  necessary  for  salvation. 

A  man  who  has  no  hope  will  not  do  good  works,  nor  avoid  sin; 
while  he  who  has  hope  is  secure  of  his  salvation,  just  as  a  man  is 
certain  of  a  plant  when  he  has  the  seed ;  "  for  we  are  saved  by  hope  " 
(Rom.  viii.  24).  "Belief  in  God's  truth,  His  almighty  power,  and 
His  love  for  us,  is  a  triple  cord,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "  which  is  let 
down  into  our  prison  from  heaven;  to  this  we  must  cling  so  that  it 
may  raise  us  to  the  vision  of  His  glory."  "  The  house  of  God  (i.e., 
holiness  which  leads  to  salvation),"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  is  founded 
on  faith,  built  up  on  hope,  and  finished  in  love."  In  heaven  there  is 
no  more  hope,  for  we  shall  then  possess  all  that  we  hoped  for. 

6.  Christian  hope  is  a  gift  of  God,  and  we  can  attain  to  this 
hope  only  by  sanctifying  grace. 

In  this  respect  we  may  speak  of  hope  almost  in  the  same  words 
in  which  we  spoke  of  faith.  It  is  the  Spirit  of  God  which  awakens 
in  us  a  longing  for  heavenly  things,  and  fills  us  with  confidence  in 
God.  As  sanctifying  grace  increases,  this  power  of  hoping  increases ; 
hence  the  saints  hoped  most  at  the  approach  of  death.  Hope,  like  a 
river,  becomes  wider  as  it  approaches  the  sea. 


1.  He  who  hopes  in  God  enjoys  the  special  protection  of  God. 

Examples  may  be  seen  in  the  three  children  in  the  furnace,  in  Jo 
seph  in  the  Egyptian  prison,  in  our  blessed  Lady  when  St.  Joseph  had 
thoughts  of  putting  her  away.  Modern  history  has  also  its  examples, 
as  when  Vienna  was  besieged  by  the  Turks  in  1683.  Two  hundred 
and  fifty  thousand  Turks  were  investing  the  city,  which  was  defended 
by  a  garrison  of  sixteen  thousand  Christians.  Again  and  again 
were  the  enemy  repulsed,  though  the  ramparts  had  been  undermined 
and  blown  up.  Yet  as  the  case  of  the  Christians  became  more  des 
perate,  so  increased  their  trust  in  God;  and  at  the  last  extremity 
there  appeared  Sobieski's  force,  an  army  of  some  ninety  thousand 
men.  The  battle  lasted  but  a  day,  and  the  Turks  were  put  to  complete 
rout.  God  protects  those  who  hope  in  Him  (Dan.  xiii.  60).  "A 
Christian  whose  hope  is  in  God  may  be  oppressed,  but  he  cannot  be 
overcome,"  says  St.  Cyprian.  "  Such  a  one,"  adds  St  Francis  of 
Sales,  "  is  like  a  general  backed  by  a  strong  reserve.''*  '  They  that 
trust  in  the  Lord  shall  be  as  Mount  Sion"  (Ps.  cxxiv.  1).  If  a  man 

278  Faiih. 

puts  his  entire  confidence  in  God,  God  takes  him  under  His  special 
protection,  and  he  may  be  certain  that  no  harm  will  come  to  him 
(St.  Vincent  of  Paul).  The  greater  our  confidence  in  God,  the  more 
certainly  will  He  protect  us  and  come  to  our  help  in  all  dangers  (St. 
Francis  of  Sales).  ISTo  one  hath  hoped  in  the  Lord  and  been  con 
founded  (Ecclus.  ii.  11).  "  We  will  not  have  you  as  the  heathens  that 
have  no  hope"  (1  Thess.  iv.  12). 

2.  He  who  hopes  in  God  can  obtain  everything  from  Him ;  for 
Christ  said  that  such  a  one  might  move  mountains  (Mark  xi.  23). 

St.  Gregory  Thaumaturgus  did  literally  move  a  mountain.  Such 
was  the  confidence  of  Moses  when  he  divided  the  Red  Sea  with  his 
staff,  and  of  Elias  when  he  prayed  for  rain.  "  Hope  is  an  arrow 
which  pierces  the  Heart  of  Christ,  and  opens  the  founts  of  His 
mercy  to  the  soul  that  hopes  in  Him."  "  A  man  gets  just  as  much  as 
he  hopes  for"  (St.  John  of  the  Cross). 

3.  He  who  hopes  in  God  is  strengthened  by  God,  so  that  he  is 
not  afraid  of  man,  and  is  patient  and  courageous  in  suffering,  and 
more  especially  in  face  of  death. 

We  have  examples  in  David  before  Goliath  and  Leo  before  Attila. 
St.  Martin  was  once  attacked  by  robbers  who  threatened  his  life; 
when  they  asked  why  he  did  not  fear,  he  made  reply :  "  I  am  a  Chris 
tian  and  under  God's  protection.  I  have  no  need  to  fear;  on  the  con 
trary,  it  is  you  who  ought  to  be  afraid."  The  man  whose  trust  is  in 
God  troubles  himself  little  about  the  favors  of  the  great  or  the  say 
ings  of  his  fellow-men;  such  was  St.  Paul's  attitude  (1  Cor.  iv.  3). 
He  who  puts  his  trust  in  God  will  be  patient  in  suffering,  for  he 
knows  "  that  the  sufferings  of  this  time  are  not  worthy  to  be  com 
pared  with  the  glory  to  come  that  shall  be  revealed  in  us  "  (Rom.  viii. 
18).  Job  was  patient  in  the  midst  of  his  sufferings  because  he  looked 
forward  to  the  resurrection  (Job  xix.  25).  How  can  he  be  unhappy 
who  looks  to  the  unspeakable  reward  of  heaven  ?  St.  Paul  calls  to  us 
amid  his  sufferings :  "  I  exceedingly  abound  with  joy  in  all  our  trib 
ulations  "  (2  Cor.  vii.  4).  "To  die  is  gain  .  .  .  having  a  desire  to 
be  dissolved  and  to  be  with  Christ "  (Phil.  i.  21-23) ;  and  again,  "  As 
to  the  rest,  there  is  laid  up  for  me  a  crown  of  justice,  which  the  Lord, 
the  just  Judge,  will  render  to  me  in  that  day  "  (2  Tim.  iv.  8).  So  joy 
ful  was  the  death  of  St.  Andrew  (62  A.D.),  that  when  he  saw  the  cross 
on  which  he  was  to  die,  he  exclaimed :  "  Hail,  blessed  cross,  sanctified 
by  the  death  of  my  God;  with  transports  of  joy  I  come  to  you;  how 
long  have  I  sought  you,  how  long  have  I  desired  you  !  "  St.  Igna 
tius  (107  A.D.),  Bishop  of  Antioch,  rejoiced  when  he  heard  his  con 
demnation  from  the  mouth  of  the  Emperor  Trajan;  and  when  the 
Christians  in  Rome  were  planning  to  set  him  free,  he  prayed  them 
not  to  deprive  him  of  his  martyr's  crown :  "  I  fear  neither  the  beasts 
nor  the  rending  of  my  limbs,  if  only  I  can  win  Christ;  "  and  so  we 
find  innumerable  instances  in  the  lives  of  the  saints.  Hope  is  the 
anchor  of  the  soul  (Heb.  vi.  19).  Like  the  eagle  soaring  into  the 
light  of  the  sun,  it  rises  above  the  cares  and  sorrows  of  earth. 

4.  He  who  hopes  in  God  is  impelled  to  the  performance  of  good 
works  and  of  heroic  acts. 

Christian  Hope.  279 

This  is  the  secret  of  the  zeal  of  missionaries  in  the  land  of  the 
heathen.  The  hope  of  the  Christian  is  something  more  solid  than 
that  of  the  husbandman,  or  the  warrior,  or  the  artist.  "  He  hopes 
for  that  which  Truth  itself  has  promised,"  says  St.  Paulinus.  Our 
hope  is  as  certain  as  though  it  were  already  an  accomplished  fact 
(St.  Augustine). 


The  Christian  may  not  hope  for  more  or  less  than  what  God 
has  promised. 

1.  The  Christian  may  not  rely  on*  his  own  powers,  on  his 
fellow-men,  nor  on  earthly  things  more  than  upon  God ;   otherwise 
he  is  sure  to  fail,  because  outside  of  God  nothing  is  to  be  relied 

The  hope  of  him  who  relies  only  on  earthly  means  is  not  a  heavenly 
nor  a  Christian  hope,  but  merely  human  hope.  St.  Peter  boasted  of 
his  strength,  and  yet  he  denied  his  Lord.  Goliath  trusted  in  his 
might,  and  he  came  to  nought.  St.  Francis  Borgia  gave  all  his 
service  to  his  patron,  the  Empress  Isabella ;  she  died  and  then  he  rec 
ognized  the  folly  of  it.  It  is  better  to  trust  in  the  Lord  than  to  trust 
to  men  (Ps.  cxvii.  8).  To  build  on  the  favor  of  men  is  to  raise  one's 
house  on  sand  or  snow.  Those  who  put  their  trust  in  men  will  perish 
like  the  priests  of  Baal  on  Mount  Carmel  (3  Kings  xviii.).  He  who 
relies  on  his  own  strength  and  not  upon  God  has  only  himself  for 
protector ;  God  will  not  protect  him  because  he  does  not  hope  in  His 
protection  (St.  Augustine). 

2.  The  Christian  may  not  despair;    i.e.,  he  may  not  give  up 
hoping  that  God  will  forgive  his  sins,  or  help  him  in  adversity. 

Cain  despaired  when  he  said :  "  My  sin  if  too  great  to  be  for 
given "  (Gen.  iv.  13).  Saul  despaired  by  throwing  himself  on  his 
sword  when  hard  pressed  in  battle  by  the  Philistines  (1  Kings  xxxi.). 

The  Christian  may  not  despair,  because  God's  mercy  is  in 
finite,  and  God's  help  is  nearest  when  the  need  is  greatest. 

"  Before  sinning  fear  God's  justice,"  says  St.  Gregory  the  Great ; 
"  after  sinning  trust  in  His  mercy."  Who  would  doubt  of  being  able 
to  pay  off  his  paltry  debts  if  he  were  placed  before  a  kingly  treasure 
and  told  to  help  himself  ?  Much  less  should  we  doubt  of  God's 
mercy.  "  As  a  spark  is  to  the  ocean,  so  is  the  wickedness  of  man  com 
pared  to  the  mercy  of  God,"  says  St.  John  Chrysostom.  The  greater 
a  sinner  is,  the  dearer  is  he  to  God  in  his  repentance,  for  more  glory 
is  given  to  God  when  the  sins  that  He  forgives  are  very  great. 

Despair  often  ends  in  suicide  and  everlasting  death. 

Judas  is  an  example  of  this.  Despair  is  a  sin  against  the  Holy 
Ghost,  and  as  such  is  never  forgiven.  "  Hope,"  says  St.  Isidore, 
"  opens  heaven's  gates,  while  despair  closes  them."  St.  Augustine 
says  that  he  who  despairs  of  God's  mercy,  dishonors  God  as  though 
be  did  not  believe  in  His  existence;  and  St.  Jerome  adds  that  the 

280  Faith. 

sin  of  Judas  in  despairing  of  God's  mercy  was  greater  than  his  sin 
of  betraying  Christ.  He  who  sins  kills  his  soul,  but  he  who  despairs 
is  already  in  hell. 

3.  The  Christian  must  never  presume  on  his  trust  in  God's 
mercy,  i.e.,  he  may  not  continue  sinning  with  the  idea  that  God's 
mercy  can  never  condemn  him  to  hell. 

Confidence  in  God  and  fear  of  God  must  ever  be  equally  present 
in  us.  It  is  wrong  that  there  should  be  only  fear  of  God  without 
trust  in  Him,  for  this  is  despair.  It  is  also  wrong  that  there  should 
be  no  fear  at  all;  if  a  man  thinks  his  salvation  already  secure  he 
sins  by  presumption.  "  Despise  not  God's  mercy,"  says  St.  Bernard, 
"  if  you  would  escape  His  justice."  Christ  says :  "  Unless  you  shall  do 
penance,  you  shall  all  likewise  perish"  (Luke  xiii.  3).  No  man  may 
safely  say  to  himself,  "  I  can  always  do  penance  for  this  sin,"  or,  "  I 
will  reform  before  my  death." 

4.  The  Christian  may  never  tempt  God;    i.e.,  he  must  never 
expose  himself  rashly  to  danger  in  the  hope  that  God  will  save 

He  only  can  hope  for  help  who  does  what  God  requires  of  him. 
He  who  is  indifferent  to  God's  will,  and  acts  with  thoughtless  rash 
ness,  is  deserted  by  God.  Hence :  "  He  that  loveth  danger  shall  perish 
in  it"  (Ecclus.  iii.  27).  The  devil  urged  Our  Lord  to  tempt  God  by 
throwing  Himself  from  the  pinnacle  of  the  Temple  (Matt.  iv.  6). 
So  a  man  who  should  refuse  to  call  in  a  doctor  or  to  take  medicines 
in  a  dangerous  sickness,  on  the  plea  that  God  would  come  to  his  help, 
would  be  tempting  God.  Those  who  in  the  first  ages  of  Christianity 
exposed  themselves  without  reasonable  cause  to  martyrdom  were 
not  accounted  martyrs  even  when  they  died  for  the  faith. 



As  God  gave  fixed  laws  to  the  heavenly  bodies  (Ps.  cxlviii.  6),  so 
He  also  gave  commandments,  or  laws,  unto  men. 

God  has  given  us  commandments  in  order  to  make  us  happy 
in  time  and  in  eternity. 

God  never  commands  anything  except  for  the  greater  good  of 
those  to  whom  He  gives  the  command.  He  only  imposes  laws  on 
us  out  of  kindness,  that  He  may  have  occasion  to  reward  us.  A 
heathen  sage  says :  "  Without  laws  the  human  race  would  be  no  better 
than  wild  beasts  of  prey,  the  stronger  devouring  and  destroying  the 

1.  God  has  imprinted  the  natural  law  on  the  heart  of  every 
man;  this  forms  the  fundamental  rule  of  human  actions. 

A  young  child  who  has  done  something  wrong — lied,  perhaps,  or 
committed  a  theft,  feels  uncomfortable,  frightened,  or  ashamed; 
though  it  may  never  have  heard  of  the  Ten  Commandments,  it  is  con 
scious  that  it  has  done  amiss.  It  is  the  same  with  the  heathen  who 
knows  nothing  about  God's  commandments.  Hence  we  may  conclude 
that  there  is  a  law  of  nature  in  every  human  heart,  a  law  not  written 
upon  it,  but  inborn  in  it;  an  intuitive  knowledge  of  right  and  wrong. 
St.  Paul  declares  that  the  Gentiles  do  by  nature  those  things  that  are 
of  the  law  (what  the  Ten.  Commandments  enjoin),  and  consequently 
they  will  be  judged  by  God  according  to  the  natural  law  (Rom.  ii. 
14-16).  The  characters  wherein  this  law  is  inscribed  upon  our  hearts 
may  be  obscured  but  not  obliterated;  the  Roman  Catechism  tells  us 
no  man  can  be  unconscious  of  this  law,  divinely  imprinted  upon 
his  understanding,  "'  This  natural  law  teaches  us  the  most  important 
rules  of  morality,  e.g.,  that  homage  is  due  to  almighty  God;  that  no 
man  must  wilfrily  injure  himself;  that  we  must  not  do  to  others 
what  we  would  not  have  others  do  to  us;  furthermore  from  this 
moral  code  certain  inferences  directly  follow;  these  are  the  Ten 
Commandments  of  God  (the  observance  of  the  Sabbath  excepted). 
Thus  the  natural  law  does  not  consist  of  a  series  of  truths  founded 
on  reason,  but  is  a  definite  expression  of  the  will  of  God,  which  it  is 


282  TJie  Commandments. 

binding  upon  us  to  obey,  and  of  which  in  individual  cases  we  are 
made  acquainted  by  means  of  reason.  This  consciousness  of  God's 
will  is  conscience.  Hence  it  is  erroneous  to  say  reason  is  itself  the 

2.  In  addition  to  this  natural  law,  God  gave  to  man  solemn 
precepts,  more  especially  the  Ten  Commandments  and  the  two  pre 
cepts  of  charity.    These  are  known  as  the  revealed  law. 

To  the  revealed  law  appertain:  (1).  The  pre-Mosaic  law,  given  by 
God  to  Noe  and  Abraham;  e.g.,  He  forbade  the  former  to  eat  flesh 
with  blood  (Gen.  ix.  4),  upon  the  latter  He  imposed  the  law  of  cir 
cumcision  (Gen.  xvii.  11).  (2).  The  Mosaic  law,  which  was  given  to 
the  Jews  through  Moses.  To  this  belong :  The  Decalogue ;  the  regula 
tions  of  divine  worship,  the  civil  law  of  the  Jews.  The  Ten  Com 
mandments  were  not  annulled  by  Christ  (Matt.  v.  17),  but  fulfilled, 
as  the  outline  of  a  picture  is  not  effaced,  but  filled  in  by  the  painter. 
The  regulations  of  public  worship  (relating  to  the  sacrifices,  the 
Temple,  etc.),  were  abolished  at  the  death  of  Christ,  because  the 
ceremonial  observances  of  the  Old  Testament  were  merely  typical 
of  the  Redeemer.  The  civil  law  (regulating  the  social  relations  of 
the  Jews)  was  exclusively  suited  to  the  Hebrew  people.  (3).  The 
Christian  law,  comprising  the  two  precepts  of  charity.  This  chiefly 
requires  the  practice  of  works  of  mercy,  and  interior  spiritual  wor 
ship  (John  iv.  24),  whereas  the  Jewish  law  ordained  the  performance 
of  exterior  acts  and  ceremonies.  The  Mosaic  law  was  written  on 
tables  of  stone,  but  the  commandments  of  charity  are  written  within 
our  hearts  by  the  Holy  Spirit  (Heb.  viii.  10)  ;  that  is  to  say,  the  Holy 
Ghost  enlightens  the  understanding  that  we  may  perceive  them,  and 
influences  the  will  that  we  may  follow  them.  The  former  laws  were 
imperfect  (Heb.  vii.  19)  ;  the  Christian  law  is  perfect,  for  obedience 
to  it  brings  man  nearer  to  his  ultimate  goal,  eternal  felicity.  The 
Old  Law  was  given,  on  account  of  its  imperfection,  through  the 
medium  of  an  angel;  the  New  Law  was  proclaimed  by  the  Son  of  God 

The  revealed  law  is  nothing  more  than  a  repetition,  an  ex 
position,  and  an  amplification  of  the  natural  law. 

Because  the  mind  of  man  being  darkened  by  sin,  was  no  longer 
capable  of  discerning  between  good  and  evil,  the  natural  law  was  ex 
plained  and  completed  for  him  by  God.  Let  us  thank  God  for  thus 
making  His  will  plain  to  our  understanding. 

3.  Finally,  God  gives  us  commandments  through  His  represent 
atives  upon  earth,  through  the  ecclesiastical  and  secular  authori 
ties.    These  laws  are  called  ecclesiastical  and  civil  laws. 

The  Church  lays  her  behests  upon  us  in  Christ's  name :  "  He  that 
heareth  you  heareth  Me ;  and  he  that  despiseth  you,  despiseth  Me  " 
(Luke  x.  16).  The  secular  authorities  also  derive  their  power  from 
God,  as  St.  Paul  tells  us  (Rom.  xiii.  1).  The  ecclesiastical  and  civil 
laws  are  distinguished  from  the  divine  laws  (natural  and  revealed) 
in  that  the  former  govern  our  exterior  actions  and  words  alone,  while 
the  latter  regulate  our  thoughts  and  desires  as  well. 

Wliat  Commandments  has  God  given  us  ?  283 

The  laws  God  gives  us  by  His  representatives  are,  however, 
only  binding  upon  us  provided  they  are  not  at  variance  with  the 
revealed  law. 

That  is  no  law  which  is  opposed  to  the  law  of  God.  Wherefore 
if  we  are  commanded  to  do  anything  that  God  forbids,  "  we  ought  to 
obey  God  rather  than  men  "  (Acts  v.  29).  Witness  the  conduct  of  the 
three  children  and  of  the  seven  Machabees. 

4.  From  the  knowledge  of  the  law  comes  conscience;  the  con 
sciousness,  that  is,  whether  an  act  is  permitted  or  prohibited  by  the 

Our  understanding  indicates  to  us,  in  individual  cases  in  which 
we  are  called  upon  to  act,  how  to  shape  our  conduct  in  conformity 
to  the  known  law.  Thus  bv  our  understanding  we  attain  to  the 
knowledge  of  the  law  and  of  our  duty.  This  knowledge  is  called 
conscience.  Conscience  is  therefore  a  practical  act  of  the  intellect; 
it  also  impels  our  will  powerfully  towards  what  is  good.  Hence  it  is 
often  called  the  voice  of  God  within  us. 

Conscience  makes  itself  heard  in  the  following  manner :  Be 
fore  an  action  it  speaks  either  in  encouragement  or  in  warning; 
after  the  action  it  fills  us  either  with  peace  or  with  disquiet, 
according  as  the  action  is  good  or  evil. 

Conscience  filled  Cain  and  Judas  with  unrest.  Our  conscience 
is  either  good  or  bad.  A  good  conscience  makes  us  bright  and  cheer 
ful,  it  sweetens  the  bitterness  of  life ;  it  brings  rest  and  contentment. 
A  bad  conscience  makes  us  morose  and  ill  at  ease;  it  is  a  worm,  en 
gendered  by  the  corruption  of  sin,  and  this  worm  never  dies  (Mark  ix. 
43).  A  bad  conscience  embitters  all  the  joys  of  life;  the  man  who 
has  a  bad  conscience  is  like  a  condemned  criminal,  who,  whatever  the 
enjoyments  offered  him  in  his  last  hours,  takes  no  real  pleasure  in 

A  man's  conscience  may  be  either  tender  or  deadened. 

A  tender  conscience  shrinks  from  the  least  sin;  a  deadened  con 
science  scarcely  heeds  great  sins.  The  conscience  of  the  saints  was 
tender;  they  feared  to  offend  God  in  the  slightest  degree;  the  con 
science  of  men  of  the  world  is  deadened;  it  glosses  over  sins  that 
are  unquestionably  mortal.  Yet  such  men  will  sometimes  attach 
great  importance  to  trifles ;  they  strain  out  gnats  and  swallow  camels 
(Matt,  xxiii.  24).  Thus  the  Jews  who  crucified  Our  Lord  would  not 
go  into  the  court  of  Pilate  lest  they  should  be  defiled  (John  xviii. 
28).  A  man  who  has  a  tender  conscience  is  called  conscientious, 
while  one  whose  conscience  is  blunted  is  said  to  be  without  con 

A  man's  conscience  may  be  either  lax  (unscrupulous)  or 
timid  (over-scrupulous). 

He  whose  conscience  is  lax  persuades  himself  that  the  greatest 
sins  are  permissible :  once  in  a  way  does  not  count,  he  will  say,  to  err 

284  The  Commandments. 

is  human;  in  consequence  of  his  dissolute  life  he  no  longer  heeds  the 
reproaches  of  conscience ;  in  fact  he  scarcely  hears  them.  But  an 
over-scrupulous  conscience,  on  the  other  hand,  makes  a  man  see  sin 
where  there  is  no  sin.  Like  a  timid  horse  that  shies  at  a  tree  or  a 
stone,  thus  exposing  his  rider  to  the  risk  of  falling,  so  a  scrupulous 
person  imagines  there  is  danger  where  there  is  none,  and  is  liable  to 
fall  into  disobedience  and  other  sins.  Over-scrupulosity  does  not 
arise  from  any  misapprehension,  but  from  an  ill-regulated  mind, 
which  has  the  effect  of  obscuring  the  reason.  St.  Francis  of  Sales 
says  that  it  has  its  source  in  pride.  The  over-scrupulous  are  timid; 
thus  they  can  never  attain  a  high  degree  of  perfection.  They  ought 
not  to  dwell  upon  their  doubts,  for  these  are  like  glue  or  pitch.  The 
more  they  are  touched,  the  more  they  adhere  to  one.  St.  Alphonsus 
bids  us  contemn  our  scruples,  and  do  that  from  which  they  would  deter 
us.  The  scrupulous  should  mistrust  their  own  judgment  and  view 
of  things ;  they  must  in  fact  renounce  them  altogether  if  they  are  to 
get  rid  of  their  timidity.  "  lie  who  would  do  great  things  for  God," 
says  St.  Ignatius,  "  must  beware  of  being  too  cautious ;  had  the 
apostles  been  so  they  would  never  have  undertaken  the  evangelization 
of  the  world." 

A  man  commits  a  sin  if  he  acts  against  the  dictates  of  his 

Conscience  is  nothing  more  than  the  law,  applied  to  particular 
cases.  In  acting  against  our  conscience  therefore,  we  disobey  the 
law  even  if  we  are  under  a  mistake.  For  instance,  if  a  man  eats  meat 
on  a  Thursday,  thinking  it  to  be  a  Friday,  he  commits  a  sin. 

5.  God's  commandments  do  not  deprive  men  in  any  way  of  true 

They  rather  serve  to  make  him  independent  of  creatures.  It  is 
the  sinner  who  falls  under  the  yoke  of  an  ignominious  servitude. 
"Where  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  is,  there  is  liberty"  (2  Cor.  iii.  17). 
Besides,  liberty  does  not  consist  in  the  right  to  do  whatever  we  will, 
but  whatever  is  permitted.  The  word  is  much  abused  in  the  present 
day;  many  consider  it  to  mean  license,  and  they  call  the  restraint 
which  the  laws  impose  on  their  evil  work  tyranny  and  despotism. 
Others  think  it  signifies  liberty  for  themselves  and  servitude  for 
others.  Hence  we  often  find  so-called  liberals  the  most  intolerant  of 


1.  The  most  important  commandments  are  the  two  command 
ments  of  charity,  that  is  to  say,  the  love  of  God  and  the  love  of 
one's  neighbor,  for  all  the  other  commandments  are  comprised  in 

When  Christ  was  once  asked  by  one  of  the  Scribes  which  was  the 
first  of  all  the  commandments,  He  answered :  "  Thou  shalt  love  the 
Lord  thy  God  with  thy  whole  heart  (i.e.,  with  the  will)  and  with 
thy  whole  soul  (i.e.,  with  the  understanding)  and  with  thy  whole 
mind  (i.e.,  with  the  affections)  and  with  thy  whole  strength  (i.e.,  in 

The  Two  Commandments  of  Charity.  285 

all  thy  actions.  This  is  the  first  commandment.  And  the  second  is 
like  unto  it :  Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbor  as  thyself "  (Mark  xii. 
30,  31).  The  same  precepts  were  given  to  the  Jews  (Deut.  vi.  5;  Lev. 
xix.  18).  These  two  commandments  contain  all  the  others,  because 
they  influence  and  direct  all  the  powers  of  the  soul  of  man;  the 
understanding,  the  affections,  the  will,  and  all  his  actions  besides. 
Thus  he  who  fulfils  these  two  commandments  of  charity  keeps  all  the 
commandments;  were  they  everywhere  observed  no  other  law  would 
be  necessary  in  the  State  or  in  the  family.  Hence  Christ  says :  "  On 
these  two  commandments  dependeth  the  whole  law  and  the  prophets  " 
(Matt.  xxii.  40).  The  other  commandments  do  but  inculcate  in 
detail  what  the  commandments  of  charity  enjoin. 

In  the  command  to  love  God  the  first  four  of  the  command 
ments  of  God  are  comprised;  the  other  commandments  of  God 
and  the  obligation  to  perform  works  of  mercy  are  comprehended 
in  the  second. 

The  first  four  commandments  contain  our  duty  to  God.  As  our 
supreme  Ruler  He  requires  of  us  in  the  First  Commandment  worship 
and  fidelity ;  in  the  Second,  respect ;  in  the  Third,  service ;  in  the 
Fourth,  respect  towards  His  representatives  upon  earth.  The  other 
six  enjoin  on  us  our  duty  to  our  neighbor,  forbidding  us  to  injure  him 
as  regards  his  life  in  the  Fifth ;  his  purity  in  the  Sixth ;  his  property 
in  the  Seventh;  his  honor  in  the  Eighth;  his  family  in  the  Ninth  and 
Tenth.  The  precept  of  Our  Lord  enjoining  on  us  the  performing  of 
works  of  mercy  (Matt.  xxv.  31  seq.}  is  an  amplification  of  the  second 
commandment  of  charity,  for  it  requires  us  to  help  our  neighbor  in 
his  need.  That  the  last  six  commandments  of  the  Decalogue  are  a 
connected  whole  we  gather  from  Our  Lord's  answer  to  the  rich  young 
man  (Matt.  xix.  18).  St.  Paul  also  classes  them  together  (Rom. 
xiii.  9). 

2.  Without  the  love  of  God  and  of  our  neighbor  no  man  can 
be  saved. 

St.  John  says :  "  He  that  loveth  not,  abideth  in  death  "  (1  John 
iii.  14).  St.  Augustine  says  that  as  we  require  two  feet  to  walk,  so 
we  must  have  the  love  of  God  and  of  our  neighbor  if  we  would  reach 
heaven,  and  enter  into  the  presence  of  God.  As  the  bird  cannot  fly 
without  two  wings,  so  must  we  be  borne  aloft  upon  these  two  pinions 
if  we  would  soar  up  to  heaven.  The  blessed  in  heaven  love  God  and 
one  another;  we  must  do  the  same  here  on  earth  if  we  are  to  join 
their  blissful  company.  "  What  is  man,  O  God,"  asks  St.  Augus 
tine,  "  that  Thou  dost  command  him  to  love  Thee,  and  threaten  him 
with  terrible  chastisements  if  he  fails  to  do  so  ? " 

3.  The  capacity  for  loving  God  and  our  neighbor  is  bestowed 
upon  us  simultaneously  with  sanctifying  grace. 

Of  ourselves  we  are  incapable  of  loving  God  above  all  things. 
Ever  since  the  blight  of  original  sin  fell  upon  us,  it  is  with  our 
heart  as  with  the  date-palm,  which  transplanted  to  a  colder  clime  does 
indeed  bear  fruit,  but  cannot  produce  the  ripe  and  delicious  dates 
of  the  land  where  it  is  indigenous.  So  our  hearts  would  fain  love 

286  The  Commandments. 

God,  but  the  power  is  lacking  to  them;  they  can  only  attain  to 
true  charity  when  informed  by  divine  grace.  "  To  will  is  present 
with  me,  but  how  to  accomplish  that  which  is  good  I  know  not" 
(Rom.  vii.  18).  ~Not  until  the  Holy  Spirit  takes  possession  of  us  by 
Baptism  or  penance  is  the  love  of  God  shed  abroad  in  our  heart.  The 
love  of  our  neighbor  is  implanted  within  us  at  the  same  time  as  the 
love  of  God;  they  are,  but  one,  the  only  difference  is  in  the  object 
towards  which  they  are  directed.  The  love  of  God  and  of  our  neigh 
bor  may  be  compared  to  two  streams,  issuing  from  one  and  the  self 
same  source.  St.  Augustine  says  that  Christ  gave  the  Holy  Spirit  to 
the  apostles  twice  (when  He  breathed  upon  them  and  on  the  Day  of 
Pentecost)  because  with  the  Holy  Spirit  a  twofold  charity  is  im 
parted  to  us 

4.   The  love  of  God  is  inseparably  united  to  tne  iove  of  our 

As  the  plant  is  contained  within  the  seed,  so  the  love  of  our  neigh 
bor  is  comprised  in  the  love  of  God.  The  two  precepts  are  so  con 
stituted  that  the  one  cannot  be  observed  without  the  other.  This  is 
why  Holy  Scripture  speaks  of  one  commandment  of  charity.  "  If 
any  man  say,  I  love  God,  and  hateth  his  brother,  he  is  a  liar"  (1 
John  iv.  20).  Our  love  of  our  neighbor  is  therefore  the  best  test  of 
our  love  of  God.  He  who  cherishes  ill-will  towards  his  fellow-man, 
who  hates  him,  envies  him,  injures  him  in  any  way,  or  who  grudges 
alms  to  the  needy,  is  destitute  of  the  love  of  God.  The  greater  our 
love  of  God,  the  greater  will  be  our  love  of  our  neighbor. 


Man  is  so  constituted  by  nature  that  he  takes  delight  in  what  he 
recognizes  as  good  and  beautiful.  This  delight,  and  the  desire  to  at 
tain  it,  is  called  love.  Thus  we  see  love  to  be  an  act  of  the  under 
standing,  the  affections,  and  the  will. 

1.  We  ought  to  love  God  (1),  because  Christ  commands  this; 
(2),  because  He  is  in  Himself  essentially  the  highest  beauty  and 
sovereign  perfection;  (3),  because  He  loves  us  and  continually 
bestows  benefits  upon  us. 

Christ  commands  us  to  love  God,  for  He  says :  "  Thou  shalt  love 
the  Lord  thy  God  with  thy  whole  heart,  with  thy  whole  soul,  with  thy 
whole  mind,  and  with  thy  whole  strength"  (Mark  xii.  30).  God 
is  the  most  beautiful  of  all  beings,  for  if  earthly  beings  are  so  beau 
tiful,  how  much  greater  must  be  the  beauty  of  God,  Who  is  the 
Creator  of  all  these  things!  (Wisd.  xiii.  3.)  For  one  cannot  give  to 
another  what  one  has  not  got  one's  self,  consequently  God  must  pos 
sess  in  Himself  all  the  perfections  in  their  highest  degree  which  we 
admire  in  His  creatures.  God  has  manifested  His  love  towards  us 
chiefly  in  this,  that  He  sent  His  only-begotten  Son  to  earth  for  our 
salvation.  Christ  Himself  says :  "  God  so  loved  the  world  as  to  give 
His  only-begotten  Son"  (John  iii.  16).  He  did  not  send  Him  to 
live  on  earth  in  regal  state,  but  as  a  lowly  servant;  not  to  live  and  die 
as  an  ordinary  man,  but  to  live  a  life  of  privation  and  persecution 

The  Precept  of  the  Love  of  God.  287 

and  to  die  the  death  of  the  cross.  God  gave  His  well-beloved  Son. 
The  fewer  children  parents  have,  the  more  fondly  do  they  generally 
love  them,  and  they  dote  upon  an  only  child.  How  intense  must 
have  been  the  love  of  God  for  His  only-begotten  Son,  yet  He  gave 
Him  for  our  redemption !  "  Thou  didst  deliver  up  the  Son,  O  Lord," 
exclaims  St.  Augustine,  "  to  save  the  servant  !  "  Thus  St.  J  ohn  ad 
monishes  us :  "  Let  us  love  God,  because  God  first  hath  loved  us  "  (1 
John  iv.  19).  Moreover  God  continually  bestows  benefits  upon  us; 
all  in  which  we  take  pleasure  comes  from  Him.  Life,  health,  our 
daily  bread,  the  clothes  we  wear,  the  roof  that  shelters  us,  all  are  His 
gifts.  "  Every  best  gift  and  every  perfect  gift  is  from  above,  coming 
down  from  the  Father  of  lights"  (Jas.  i.  17).  "What  hast  thou,  O 
man,  that  thou  hast  not  received  ? "  (1  Cor.  iv.  17.)  The  uninter 
rupted  possession  of  these  blessings  has  unfortunately  the  effect  of 
making  us  think  light  of  them.  It  were  well  for  us  therefore  to 
contemplate  the  lot  of  those  who  are  deprived  of  them,  e.g.,  the  blind, 
the  sick,  the  destitute;  we  should  then  see  how  favored  we  are  in 
comparison  with  these  afflicted  ones,  and  our  love  of  God  would  be 
come  greater.  Children  love  those  to  whom  they  owe  their  being, 
and  so  in  a  certain  measure  do  the  brute  beasts.  He,  therefore,  who 
does  not  love  his  Creator  is  worse  than  the  brutes.  The  very  fact 
that  we  owe  our  existence  to  God  lays  us  under  the  obligation  of 
loving  Him  above  all  things. 

2.  Our  love  of  God  is  chiefly  manifested  by  thinking  of  Him 
constantly,  by  avoiding  whatever  might  separate  us  from  Him,  by 
laboring  to  promote  His  glory,  and  willingly  accepting  all  that 
comes  from  His  hand. 

It  is  an  error  to  imagine  that  the  love  of  God  is  merely  affective, 
a  certain  delight  or  joy  we  experience  in  God.  It  is  rather  an  act  of 
the  understanding  and  of  the  will.  Man  recognizes  God  to  be  the 
supreme  Good,  and  esteems  Him  above  all  creatures.  This  esteem 
causes  him  to  strive  to  attain  to  the  possession  of  this  sovereign  Good, 
by  avoiding  sin  and  leading  a  godly  life.  The  love  of  God  shows 
itself  more  in  deeds  than  in  feelings.  The  love  of  God  is  called  a 
holy  or  supernatural  love.  It  is  to  be  distinguished  from  purely 
natural  affection,  such  as  that  of  a  parent  for  his  child,  as  well  as 
from  sensual  affection,  which  chiefly  regards  the  body. 

1.  He  who  loves  God  thinks  of  Him  continually,  delights 
in  speaking  of  Him,  and  of  hearing  others  talk  of  Him. 

Love  consists  in  striving  after  something,  in  order  to  be  united  to 
it.  Hence  it  comes  that  one's  thoughts  dwell  incessantly  with  the 
object  of  our  affections.  "  Where  thy  treasure  is,  there  is  thy  heart 
also"  (Matt.  vi.  21).  He  who  truly  loves  God  performs  all  his 
actions  with  the  good  intention  of  giving  Him  glory.  So  the  course 
of  a  ship  may  be  directed  towards  different  points  of  the  compass, 
yet  the  magnetic  needle  always  points  to  the  North.  He  who  loves 
God  utters  ejaculatory  prayers  amid  all  his  occupations,  such  as  these: 
"  Jesus,  my  God,  I  love  Thee  above  all  things  " ;  "  All  to  the  greater 
glory  of  God  " ;  "  My  God  and  my  all."  "  The  time,"  says  St.  Ber 
nard,  "  in  which  we  do  not  think  of  God,  is  time  lost."  He  who 
loves  God  delights  in  talking  of  divine  things.  "  Out  of  the  abund- 

288  The  Commandments. 

ance  of  the  heart  the  mouth  speaketh  "  (Matt.  xii.  34).  He  also  loves 
to  hear  others  speak  of  God :  "  He  that  is  of  God,  heareth  the  words 
of  God"  (John  viii.  47). 

2.  He  who  loves  God  avoids  sin,  and  does  not  allow  his 
heart  to  cling  to  the  possessions  and  joys  of  e.arth. 

He  who  loves  God  flies  from  sin  because  sin  separates  him  from 
God.  Our  Lord  says :  "  If  any  man  love  Me,  he  will  keep  My  word  " 
(John  xiv.  23).  He  who  loves  God  is  afraid  of  offending  Him,  rather 
than  of  His  chastisements;  for  where  love  is,  there  is  no  chastise 
ment  to  be  dreaded.  "  Perfect  charity  casteth  out  fear  "  (1  John  iv. 
18).  One  who  is  inflamed  with  the  love  of  God  lays  aside  all  desire 
for  earthly  possessions  and  enjoyments;  the  love  of  God  and  the  love 
of  the  world  cannot  co-exist  in  the  human  heart. 

3.  He  who  loves  God  rejoices  to  labor  for  the  glory  of  God. 

The  love  of  God  excites  in  us  the  desire  that  He  should  be  better 
known  and  loved  by  men,  and  thereby  glorified.  Zeal  is  the  outcome 
of  love :  "  Where  there  is  no  zeal  there  is  no  love,"  says  St.  Augustine. 
One  who  loves  God  is  grieved,  nay,  indignant,  when  God  is  offended ; 
Moses  in  his  anger  threw  the  stone  tables  of  the  law  to  the  ground 
when  he  saw  the  people  worshipping  the  golden  calf.  On  the  other 
hand  those  who  love  God  rejoice  when  He  is  honored ;  they  spare  no 
exertion  to  bring  wanderers  back  to  Him.  Consider  what  hardships 
the  apostles  and  missioners  endured  in  evangelizing  heathen  lands; 
or  what  St.  Monica  did  for  her  erring  son,  Augustine.  The  love  of 
God  is  the  motive  which  actuates  the  angels  in  their  care  of  us ;  and 
which  makes  us  pray :  "  Hallowed  be  Thy  name." 

4.  He  who  loves  God  gives  God  thanks  for  the  benefits  He 
confers,  and  bears  willingly  the  sufferings  He  lays  upon  him. 

If  we  really  love  God,  all  that  comes  from  His  hand  will  be  wel 
come,  whether  it  be  pleasant  or  painful.  If  we  receive  favors  from 
Him,  we  must  do  as  Noe  did  when  he  came  out  of  the  Ark  (Gen. 
viii.  20) ;  as  the  three  young  men  in  the  furnace  of  Babylon  (Dan. 
iii.  51  seq.)  ;  or  the  leper  Our  Lord  healed  (Luke  xvii.  16),  and  not  be 
forgetful  of  our  Benefactor,  by  omitting  night  prayers,  or  grace 
before  meals.  One  should  be  thankful  for  the  smallest  gifts,  for  in 
gratitude  betokens  an  unfeeling  heart.  Moreover  the*  sufferings 
God  sends  should  also  be  cheerfully  accepted.  Witness  Job  and  St. 
Paul,  who  abounded  with  joy  in  all  tribulation  (2  Cor.  vii.  4).  The 
apostles  and  martyrs  met  death  with  gladness ;  St.  Teresa  said :  "  To 
suffer  or  to  die."  The  heart  that  loves  God  loves  the  cross  also ;  the 
greater  our  desire  to  suffer  and  be  humbled  for  the  sake  of  God,  the 
greater  is  our  love  for  Him ;  so  say  the  saints. 

5.  He  who  loves  God  loves  his  neighbor  also. 

Every  one  that  loves  the  Creator,  loves  the  creatures  that  He  has 
made.  He  loves  his  neighbor  because  he  sees  Our  Lord  in  his  person; 
this  Christ  Himself  tells  us  (Matt.  xxv.  40).  He  does  not  love  the  just 
only,  he  loves  the  sinner  as  well;  for  while  we  hate  sin,  because  it 

The  Precept  of  the  Love  of  God.  289 

is  hateful  in  God's  sight,  we  should  love  the  sinner.  We  should  only 
hate  the  evil  spirits  and  the  reprobate,  whom  God  hates  with  an  eter 
nal  hatred. 

3.  We  must  love  God  with  all  our  faculties,  and  above  all 
things  else  in  the  whole  world. 

We  must  love  God  with  a  special,  a  superexcellent  love.  Christ 
does  not  merely  command  us  to  love  God,  but  to  love  Him  with  all 
our  heart  and  mind  and  soul  and  strength.  "  The  true  measure  of 
our  love  to  God,"  says  St.  Francis  of  Sales,  "  is  to  love  Him  without 

We  love  God  with  all  our  strength  if  we  refer  all  to  Him; 
all  our  thoughts,  words,  and  deeds. 

Our  first  thought  on  rising  in  the  morning  should  be  of  God, 
and  of  Him  we  should  think  in  all  we  do  during  the  day.  All  that  is 
beautiful  in  creation  should  remind  us  of  the  glory  of  the  Creator. 
To  him  who  loves  God  all  nature  speaks  in  a  voice  inaudible  to  the 
world  at  large,  but  intelligible  to  his  ear. 

We  love  God  more  than  anything  else  in  the  world,  if  we 
are  ready  to  give  up  everything  unhesitatingly,  if  such  be  His 

God  is,  in  fact,  our  final  end;  creatures  are  only  means  to  the 
attainment  of  this  end.  Hence  it  is  incumbent  upon  us  to  sacrifice 
them  all  in  order  to  possess  Him.  We  must  be  prepared  to  give  up 
our  bodily  life,  like  the  three  Babylonian  youths;  we  must  be  pre 
pared  to  leave  our  relatives,  as  Abraham  did ;  nay  more,  a  father  must 
even  sacrifice  his  only  son,  as  Abraham  sacrificed  Isaac,  if  God  re 
quire  this  of  him.  God  may  be  compared  to  the  pearl  of  great  price, 
to  buy  which  a  man  must  sell  all  that  he  hath  (Matt,  xiii.  46).  God 
tries  the  just  ^naii  to  see  if  he  loves  Him  more  than  this  passing 
world;  yet  He  often  contents  Himself  with  our  good  will,  and  does 
not  take  from  us  the  beloved  object,  if  we  are  ready  to  give  it  up  to 
Him.  He  who  is  unduly  cast,  down  by  afflictions  does  not  love  God 
above  all;  nor  he  who  omits  any  good  work  from  motives  of  human 
respect,  for  he  esteems  the  favor  of  men  more  than  the  favor  of 

One  may  love  creatures,  but  only  for  God's  sake. 

We  may  only  take  pleasure  in  creatures  in  so  far  as  they  are  con 
ducive  to  the  service  of  the  Most  High.  The  Creator  ought  to  be 
loved  in  His  creatures,  not  the  creatures  in  themselves.  God  calls 
Himself  a  jealous  God  (Exod.  xx.  5),  because  He  cannot  tolerate  our 
loving  anything  which  interferes  with  our  love  for  Him.  He  must 
reign  supreme  in  our  hearts,  or  hold  no  place  in  them  at  all  (St. 
Francis  of  Sales).  Because  the  patriarch  Jacob  was  too  fond  of  his 
youngest  son,  Joseph,  He  took  him  from  him  for  a  time,  and  He  did 
the  same  with  Benjamin.  So  He  acts  towards  us  now.  Christ  says: 
"He  that  loveth  father  or  mother  more  than  Me,  is  not  worthy  of 
Me"  (Matt.  x.  37).  St.  Augustine  says:  "He  loves  God  too  little 
who  loves  anything  besides  God ;  unless  indeed  he  loves  it  out  of  love 
to  God." 

290  The  Commandments. 

4,  The  love  of  God  is  of  great  advantage  to  us:  Through  it 
we  are  united  to  God  here  on  earth,  our  minds  are  enlightened, 
our  will  is  strengthened;  we  obtain  pardon  of  sin,  peace  of  soul, 
manifold  proofs  of  God's  favor,  and  after  death  celestial  joys. 

As  avarice  is  the  root  of  all  evil,  so  the  holy  love  of  God  is  the  root 
of  all  that  is  good.  It  is  compared  to  oil,  or  to  fire,  for  like  these  it 
rises  upward,  it  gives  light  and  warmth;  it  softens  and  purifies.  He 
who  loves  God  is  the  dwelling-place  of  the  Holy  Spirit;  thus  he  is 
united  to  God.  Through  love  God  becomes  present  in  our  hearts  as 
He  is  in  heaven ;  for  Christ  says :  "  If  any  man  love  Me,  My  Father 
will  love  him,  and  we  will  come  to  him  and  make  our  abode  with 
him  "  (John  xiv.  23).  Love  of  God  and  sanctifying  grace  cannot  be 
dissevered;  where  one  is,  there  is  the  other.  He  who  loves  God  enjoys 
heaven  upon  earth.  "  Hence,"  says  St.  Francis  of  Sales,  "  we  should 
not  be  too  anxious  to  discover  whether  we  are  pleasing  to  God,  but 
rather  whether  God  is  pleasing  to  us."  The  man  who  loves  God  ob 
tains  through  the  indwelling  of  the  Holy  Ghost  enlightenment  of  the 
mind,  strengthening  of  the  will,  pardon  of  sin,  and  true  peace  of  soul. 
Our  soul  is  like  a  mirror,  which  reflects  the  object  towards  which  it 
is  turned.  If  therefore  we  direct  it  towards  God,  the  light  of  His 
divinity  will  shine  into  our  soul,  which  will  have  a  clear  perception, 
that  is,  of  divine  things.  "  In  the  love  of  God  is  honorable  wisdom  " 
(Ecclus.  i.  14).  St.  Francis  of  Sales  calls  love  the  compendium  of 
theology;  by  it  many  unlearned  men,  monks  and  hermits,  have  at 
tained  proficiency  in  the  divine  science.  As  red-hot  iron  is  easily 
shaped  by  the  hammer  of  the  blacksmith,  so  the  soul  which  is  in 
flamed  by  divine  love  is  shaped  by  the  influence  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 
Nothing  gives  courage  and  strength  more  than  love  does.  The  love  of 
her  offspring  makes  the  timid  hen  so  brave  that  she  will  fly  at  a  man 
in  their  defence.  And  what  will  not  a  mother  endure  for  the  sake  of 
her  child  ?  "  Charity  beareth  all  things,  endureth  all  things  "  (1  Cor. 
xiii.  7).  What  we  love  to  do  is  no  trouble  to  us,  for  love  makes  labor 
light.  If  then  natural  affection  is  so  potent,  what  cannot  the  love  of 
God  do  ?  It  enables  us  to  accomplish  the  greatest  undertakings. 
Through  the  love  of  God  we  obtain  pardon  of  sin.  Christ  said  of  the 
Magdalen :  "  Many  sins  are  forgiven  her,  because  she  hath  loved 
much"  (Luke  vii.  47).  "Charity  covereth  a  multitude  of  sins" 
(1  Pet.  iv.  8).  Nothing  clears  a  field  of  thistles  and  thorns  as  quickly 
as  fire,  and  no  less  quickly  does  a  spark  of  divine  charity  cleanse  the 
heart  from  all  sin.  The  Holy  Ghost  Who  takes  up  His  dwelling  in 
the  heart  that  loves  God,  brings  peace  to  that  heart.  He  is  essentially 
the  Comforter.  Whosoever  loves  God  feels  within  him  the  divine 
presence,  and  this  affords  him  greater  satisfaction  than  all  the  pleas 
ures  of  the  world.  Without  charity  there  is  no  true  peace.  He  who 
loves  God  enjoys  true  peace,  because  his  will  is  in  entire  conformity 
to  the  will  of  God.  Charity  procures  for  us  many  proofs  of  God's 
favor.  Many  of  the  saints  received  revelations  from  God.  Christ 
says:  "He  that  loveth  Me  shall  be  loved  of  My  Father,  and  I  will 
manifest  Myself  to  him"  (John  xiv.  21).  To  others  Christ  Himself 
appeared,  or  His  blessed  Mother,  or  the  angels.  Of  this  many  in 
stances  occur  in  both  the  New  and  the  Old  Testament.  Or  they  ob 
tained  speedy  answers  to  prayer,  marvellous  enlightenment  in  divine 

The  Precept  of  the  Love  of  God.  291 

things,  interior  consolations  such  as  the  world  cannot  give.  To  His 
friends,  i.e.,  those  who  love  Him,  God  communicates  His  mysteries, 
to  increase  in  them  charity  and  sanctifying  grace.  Christ  says :  "  I 
have  called  you  friends,  because  all  things  whatsoever  I  have  heard 
of  My  Father  I  have  made  known  unto  you"  (John  xv.  15).  St. 
Paul  tells  us :  "  To  them  that  love  God  all  things  work  together  for 
good"  (Kom.  viii.  28).  Even  trials  and  afflictions  work  for  good 
to  him  who  loves  God,  as  was  the  case  with  Joseph,  Jacob,  and  Tobias. 
Through  the  love  of  God  we  attain  the  joys  of  heaven.  St.  Paul  says : 
"  Eye  hath  not  seen,  nor  ear  heard,  neither  hath  it  entered  into  the 
heart  of  man,  what  things  God  hath  prepared  for  them  that  love 
Him"  (1  Cor.  ii.  9).  This  is  because  he  is  rich  in  good  works  who  is 
inflamed  with  divine  charity,  for  love  stimulates  us  to  action.  Hence 
the  Apostle  says:  "  The  charity  of  Christ  presses  us  "  (2  Cor.  v.  14). 
To  behold  God,  as  we  shall  in  heaven,  and  to  love  Him  is  one  and  the 
same  thing.  We  needs  must  love  the  highest  when  we  see  it.  "  He 
who  knows  by  experience,"  says  St.  Alphonsus,  "  how  sweet  and 
delightful  it  is  to  love  God,  loses  all  taste  for  earthly  things." 

5.  The  merit  of  our  good  works  and  the  degree  of  our  future 
felicity  is  in  proportion  to  the  magnitude  of  our  love  for  God. 

"  The  greater  is  our  love  of  God,"  says  St.  Francis  of  Sales,  "  the 
more  meritorious  are  our  actions.  God  does  not  regard  the  greatness 
of  the  work,  but  the  love  wherewith  it  is  performed."  The  two  mites 
of  the  poor  widow  had  more  value  in  the  sight  of  God  than  the  large 
contributions  of  the  rich.  St.  Paul  tells  us  that  all  gifts,  however 
wonderful,  all  gooxi  works  and  austerities  are  utterly  worthless  with 
out  charity.  Good  works  without  the  love  of  God  are  like  lamps 
without  oil.  As  food  is  tasteless  and  insipid  without  a  condiment, 
so,  if  charity  is  lacking,  our  works  are  without  savor  before  God. 
Moreover  the  measure  of  our  eternal  felicity  depends  upon  the  degree 
of  charity  we  possess  at  our  death.  "  He  who  has  loved  most  shall 
receive  the  greatest  glory,"  says  St.  Francis  of  Sales.  An  earthly 
father  often  bequeaths  the  largest  legacy  to  the  child  who  has  shown 
the  most  affection  for  him.  Even  on  earth  he  who  loves  God  best  is 
the  recipient  of  the  greatest  graces.  To  such  a  one  many  sins  are  for 
given.  When  Mary  Magdalen  fell  at  Our  Lord's  feet  in  Simon's 
house,  He  said  of  her :  "  Many  sins  are  forgiven  her,  because  she  hath 
loved  much"  (Luke  vii.  47).  A  greater  love  of  God  brings  with  it  a 
greater  knowledge  of  God :  like  a  fire  which,  the  larger  it  is,  the  more 
radiance  it  emits.  If  we  love  God  we  are  rich,  richer  far  than  those 
who  own  unbounded  wealth,  but  who  do  not  love  Him ;  they  are  poor 
whoever  they  may  be,  or  whatever  they  may  possess. 

The  love  of  God  may  be  increased  in  the  soul  by  meditation 
upon  the  perfections  of  God  and  the  benefits  He  confers  on  us; 
by  practising  detachment  from  earthly  things  and  by  frequently 
making  acts  of  the  love  of  God. 

Just  as  a  fire  is  kept  up  and  increased  in  size  by  heaping  on  fuel, 
so  the  love  of  God  within  us  is  fed  by  meditation  on  the  truths  of 
religion.  Meditation  on  Our  Lord's  Passion  is  specially  calcu- ' 
lated  to  increase  in  us  the  love  of  God.  Even  in  the  realms  of  celes- 

292  The  Commandments. 

tial  glory  the  Redeemer's  death  will  form  the  strongest  incentive  to 
the  blessed  spirits  to  love  God.  Detachment  from  earthly  things  also 
contributes  to  augment  our  love.  For  as  a  stone  gravitates  towards 
the  centre  of  the  earth  as  soon  as  the  obstacles  in  its  way  are  re 
moved,  so  our  soul  mounts  upward  with  accelerated  motion  to  God, 
the  centre  of  our  being  and  its  final  aim,  if  we  free  ourselves  from 
the  bonds  that  hold  us  captive  upon  earth.  It  is  also  useful  to  make 
frequent  acts  of  the  love  of  God.  As  in  everything  practice  makes 
perfect,  so  by  awakening  within  ourselves  the  love  of  God,  we  shall 
attain  to  a  high  degree  of  love.  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  would  repeat 
for  whole  days  and  nights  the  words :  "  My  God  and  my  all !  "  It  is 
all  the  more  important  to  make  acts  of  love  because  the  command  to 
love  God  imposes  it  upon  us  as  an  obligation.  St.  Alphonsus  declares 
that  he  who  for  a  whole  month  neglects  this  practice  can  scarcely  be 
exempt  from  mortal  sin.  Our  love  should  be  without  limit  or 
measure,  as  is  God  Himself. 

The  love  of  God  is  lost  by  mortal  sin. 

As  water  extinguishes  fire,  so  the  love  of  God  is  quenched  in  our 
hearts  by  mortal  sin.  He  who  has  thus  lost  the  love  of  God  has 
turned  his  mind  away  from  God,  and  directed  it  wholly  to  creatures. 
Except  sin,  nothing  has  power  to  deprive  us  of  the  love  of  God.  Thus 
St.  Paul  exclaims :  "  I  am  sure  that  neither  death  nor  life,  nor  angels 
nor  principalities,  nor  powers,  nor  things  present,  nor  things  to 
come,  nor  any  other  creature,  shall  be  able  to  separate  us  from  the 
love  of  God"  (Rom.  viii.  38). 


However  cruel  or  depraved  a  man  may  be,  his  heart  clings  to  some 
person  or  thing,  his  nature  impels  him  to  love  some  object.  If  he 
does  not  love  God  above  all,  he  needs  must  love  a  creature  above  all. 

1.  The  love  of  the  world  consists  in  loving,  above  all,  money, 
or  the  gratification  of  one's  appetite,  or  earthly  honors  or  any 
thing  else  in  the  world,  instead  of  giving  the  first  place  to  God. 

The  love  of  creatures  is  not  in  itself  sinful,  only  when  the  creature 
is  more  loved  than  the  Creator.  All  who  love  creatures  more  than 
God  are  idolaters,  because  they  give  to  creatures  the  honor  due  to  God. 
One  loves  money,  like  Judas;  another  eating  and  drinking,  like 
Dives ;  and  many  others  whose  god  is  their  belly ;  a  third  sacrifices  all 
to  ambition,  like  Absalom ;  others  have  an  inordinate  love  of  amuse 
ments,  gambling  and  the  like.  All  these  resemble  the  Jews  who 
danced  round  the  golden  calf  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Sinai.  The 
maxim  of  the  man  of  the  world  is :  "  Let  us  eat  and  drink,  for  to 
morrow  we  die."  The  love  of  the  world  is  worse  than  high  treason; 
it  makes  a  man  a  traitor  to  the  King  of  kings. 

2.  Through  love  of  the  world  we  incur  the  loss  of  sanctifying 
grace,  and  eternal  felicity. 

The  lover  of  the  world  does  not  possess  sanctifying  grace.  As 
the  dove  does  not  rest  upon  anything  that  is  unclean  or  corrupt,  so 

The  Love  of  the  World  is  Opposed  to  the  Love  of  God.      293 

the  Holy  Spirit  does  not  dwell  in  the  soul  of  the  carnally-minded 
and  evil  (St.  Ambrose).  The  Holy  of  holies  cannot  dwell  in  the  soul 
that  is  stained  with  sin.  "  If  thy  heart  be  full  of  vinegar,  how  can  it 
be  filled  with  honey?  It  must  first  be  emptied,  and  undergo  a  toil 
some  process  of  cleansing,"  says  St.  Augustine.  He  who  is  destitute 
of  the  presence  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  that  is,  of  sanctifying  grace  (the 
wedding-garment),  shall  be  cast  into  exterior  darkness  (Matt.  xxii. 
12).  Hence  Christ  threatens  the  votary  of  the  world  with  eternal 
damnation :  "  He  that  loveth  his  life  (who  endeavors  to  get  out  of  it 
all  possible  enjoyment)  shall  lose  it"  (John  xii.  25).  Again,  "Woe 
to  you  that  are  filled,  for  you  shall  hunger.  Woe  to  you  that  now 
laugh,  for  you  shall  mourn  and  weep  "  (Luke  vi.  25).  No  more  than 
a  ship  lying  fast  at  anchor  can  sail  into  harbor,  can  a  man  who  loves 
the  world  reach  the  haven  of  eternal  felicity.  "  Which  dost  thou  pre 
fer  ? "  asks  St.  Augustine,  "  to  love  the  world  and  go  to  perdition,  or 
to  love  Christ  and  enter  into  life  everlasting  ? "  He  is  a  fool  who 
for  the  sake  of  this  passing  world  plays  away  eternal  life. 

3.  The  love  of  the  world  blinds  the  soul  of  man,  and  leads 
him  away  from  God. 

The  love  of  the  world  blinds  the  soul  of  man.  When  earthly 
things  intervene  between  God  and  the  soul,  the  soul  becomes  dark, 
just  as  does  the  moon  when  the  earth  is  between  it  and  the  sun.  As 
Tobias  the  elder  was  blinded  by  the  dung  of  a  swallow,  so  earthly 
cares  destroy  the  sight  of  the  soul.  Hence  worldlings  cannot  compre 
hend  the  teaching  of  the  Gospel;  it  is  foolishness  to  them  (1  Cor.  ii. 
14).  As  the  sun's  rays  cannot  penetrate  muddy  water,  so  the  lover  of 
the  world  cannot  be  enlightened  by  the  Holy  Spirit.  The  earth  is 
like  a  limed  twig;  the  bird  that  rests  upon  it  cannot  soar  upwards. 
The  cares  of  this  world  stifle  the  word  of  God  in  the  heart  of  man, 
as  thorns  choke  the  sprouting  seed.  The  votaries  of  the  world  resem 
ble  the  men  in  the  Gospel  who  were  invited  to  the  heavenly  banquet, 
but  who  did  not  go  because  of  their  wife,  their  farm,  their  oxen 
(Luke  xiv.  16). 

4.  The  love  of  the  world  destroys  interior  peace,  and  makes 
men  fear  death  greatly. 

The  worldling  is  a  stranger  to  interior  peace.  It  has  been  well 
said:  A  man  must  choose  between  indulgence  of  the  senses  and 
tranquillity  of  soul.  The  two  are  not  compatible.  One  might  as 
well  try  to  fill  a  vessel  that  has  holes  in  it,  as  to  satisfy  the  heart 
that  only  strives  after  the  pleasures  of  time  and  sense.  And  since 
the  votaries  of  the  world  can  never  attain  interior  peace,  they  want  a 
constant  change  of  amusement,  as  one  who  cannot  sleep  turns 
restlessly  from  side  to  side  in  the  hope  of  finding  rest.  Christ  alone 
can  give  us  true  content.  He  said  to  His  apostles :  "  Peace  I  leave 
with  you,  My  peace  I  give  unto  you ;  not  as  the  world  giveth  do  I  give 
unto  you"  (John  xiv.  27).  St.  Augustine  exclaims:  "Our  heart  has 
no  rest  until  it  rest  in  Thee,  O  Lord !  "  The  lover  of  the  world  fears 
death  so  much,  because  he  will  be  parted  from  his  idol,  and  because 
death  will  put  an  end  to  the  happiness  he  makes  it  his  object  to 
attain.  He  has,  besides,  an  inward  presentiment  of  what  will  follow 
after  death.  On  account  of  this  all  who  love  the  world  are  filled 

294  TJie  Commandments. 

with  apprehension  and  even  despair  in  the  hour  of  death.  The  pris 
oner  fears  nothing  so  much  as  the  summons  to  appear  before  the 
judge;  and  the  sinner,  though  he  is  never  free  from  alarm,  dreads  the 
moment  above  all  when  his  soul  will  leave  the  body  and  enter  the 
presence  of  her  divine  Judge  (St.  John  Chrysostom).  The  fish  that  is 
caught  on  the  hook  scarcely  feels  pain  until  it  is  drawn  out  of  the 
water ;  so  those  who  are  entangled  in  the  meshes  of  the  world  first  feel 
real  anguish  when  their  last  hour  comes.  Think,  O  worldling,  if  the 
joys  which  the  devil  offers  you  are  thus  mixed  with  bitterness,  what 
will  the  torments  be  which  he  prepares  for  you  hereafter? 

5.  The  love  of  the  world  gives  rise  to  hatred  of  God  and 
of  His  servants. 

A  man  who  loves  the  world  cannot  possibly  frave  the  love  of  God 
within  him.  Just  as  a  ring  which  encircles  one  finger  cannot  at  the 
same  time  encircle  another,  so  the  human  heart  cannot  love  God  if 
love  binds  it  to  some  earthly  object.  St.  John  says :  "  If  any  man  love 
the  world,  the  charity  of  the  Father  is  not  in  him"  (1  John  ii.  15), 
We  cannot  look  with  the  same  eye  both  at  heaven  and  earth  at  the 
same  time.  The  lover  of  the  world  even  goes  so  far  as  to  hate  God 
and  divine  things.  Thus  Christ  says :  "  No  man  can  serve  two  mas 
ters;  for  either  he  will  hate  the  one  and  love  the  other,  or  he  will 
sustain  the  one  and  despise  the  other  "  (Matt.  vi.  24) .  What  are  we 
to  conclude  if  we  hear  any  one  rail  at  priests  and  at  religion  ?  The 
lover  of  the  world  is  therefore  the  enemy  of  God.  "  If  thou  wouldst 
not  be  the  enemy  of  God,"  says  St.  Augustine,  "  be  an  enemy  of  the 

6.  The  love  of  the  world  ceases  at  death. 

There  are  many  things  which  thou  canst  only  love  for  a  time ;  then 
love  comes  to  an  end;  for  either  thou  wilt  be  taken  fro